by (@shalapitcher)

Ben Barnes, Parkour And Les Miserables: Marie Lu Talks Legend Movie As Book 2 Hits Shelves

As we await the rest of the cast of Divergent to be announced and mark off the months until Catching Fire’s release (about a million years from now, right?), there’s plenty to keep our minds full of paranoid visions of a dark future that can only be saved by a couple of brilliant teenagers. Take, for instance, Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, whose second book, Prodigy, hit shelves today. If you haven’t picked up the first, let us assure you that it’s not to be lumped brainlessly with all the other dystopian young adult novels out now — largely because of its unique characters, who take turns narrating their story. There’s 15-year-old Day, the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, whose ability to run from authorities and basically leap buildings in a single bound (parkour-style) helps him complete all sorts of Robin Hood pranks, stealing from the government to feed the poor. And then there’s 15-year-old June, the Republic’s star prodigy, who’s about to graduate early from military academy when her older brother (and only family member, since her parents’ death) is brutally murdered, she thinks, by Day. Their interaction is as tense and emotionally complex as the Jean Valjean/Javert conflict in Les Miserables, which Lu says was a partial inspiration for the story.

We caught up with Lu at San Diego Comic-Con last July, shortly after the screenplay for the Legend movie, which is being produced by Wyck Godfrey among others, was handed in to CBS Films. And it wasn’t hard for us to imagine a big showing for the film at one of the Con’s giant halls sometime in the future. “That would be amaaaazing. My fingers are crossed!” Lu said.

While she’s been in the loop on the screenplay, she doesn’t know what will be done as far as casting the movie, especially since it doesn’t yet have a director. (Warm BodiesJonathan Levine was once attached, but MTV reports that he’s since dropped out.) “I know you can’t find someone that’s exactly the way that I picture them in my head. I think they’ll do a pretty good job casting them in general. There’s only one character that I wrote with an actor in my head, and that was Metias, June’s brother. I always pictured Ben Barnes. I just love Ben Barnes. I’m going to cast him in anything that I write. I’ll squeeze him in there.”
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by (@shalapitcher)

Katniss Everdeen, Clary Fray, Melanie Stryder & More: The 13 Heroines Who’ll Make 2013 Kick Ass

The Host, Catching Fire, Prodigy, City of Bones and more stories of great heroines in 2013

If you take stories like The Hunger Games, The Host and Warm Bodies to heart, you might think we don’t have much to look forward to in the distant post-apocalyptic future. But in the more immediate days ahead, like say, the rest of 2013, there’s a whole lot to be excited for — especially if you like ladies who kick ass, stand up for what they believe in and protect their loved ones at all costs. It’s going to be a great year for heroines in movies, on TV and in books — but not necessarily the easy-to-love/worship kind. Jennifer Lawrence‘s Katniss Everdeen (this year in Catching Fire), The Americans‘ Elizabeth (Keri Russell), Beautiful Creatures‘ Lena (Alice Englert) and The Great Gatsby’s Daisy (Carey Mulligan) are complex women and girls who don’t automatically know what’s right, and sometimes they have to choose saving themselves over saving the world. The Mortal Instruments‘ Clary Fray (Lily Collins), Shadow and Bones‘ Aline, Delirium’s Lena and Warm Bodies‘ Julie (Teresa Palmer) have a little self-discovery to do before they become full-fledged heroines. The Legend Trilogy’s June and The Host’s Wanderer/Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) have to navigate between worlds to figure out whom to fight for. And Oz‘s Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Ender’s Game’s Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) are ladies whose strength is obvious, but whose roles in the bigger picture remains to be seen. As for Chloe Moretz’s Hit Girl, who returns in this summer’s Kick-Ass 2 — she’s always going to be in a category all her own.

Whatever your favorite brand of strong female is, we hope you’re looking forward to seeing them in action as much as we are! Check them out in the gallery below, and plan your year accordingly!

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[Photos: Open Road Films, Lionsgate, Penguin, Constantin Films]