If there’s one thing we love about dystopian novels for young adults, it’s the idea that in the future, smart, brave teenagers will save the world from the terrible, oppressive world the grownups created for them. The Hunger Games‘ Katniss gives us hope for the next, next, next generation. In Marie Lu’s Legend, which is in stores today, we have two brilliant 15-year-olds ready to kick ass, if they don’t kill each other first. And for day two of Dystopian Week, we’d like to introduce you to Day and June.
Legend (the first in a trilogy, of course) is already in development as a movie — produced by Twilight‘s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, and directed by Jonathan Levine, who’s making zombie-in-love YA adaptation Warm Bodies for Summit right now. (Head over to Hollywood Crush for an interview with Lu about the book and her involvement in the movie.)
We’ve been hearing about it for MONTHS now, so we were almost worried the book couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. If it were just up to the action sequences and the vision of a dark future in which the Republic of California is a country under military rule, at war with the Colonies (the rest of the former U.S.), the novel might not be such a phenom. It’s the characters that make it so. Day has been living on his own since he escaped execution at age 10, and now he’s the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, due to his daring, Robin Hood-esque pranks. He robs banks and sets military equipment on fire, but mostly just tries to steal enough to provide for his mother and brothers while he and his young sidekick Tess live in the streets.
June is the Republic’s most promising prodigy and is nearing her graduation from college and into a military life at just 15. She’s looking forward to following in the footsteps of her brother Metias, who’s raised her since the death of their parents.
The power of District 12 is strong already. Proof: After Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, had a significant early lead in our weekly Hotness poll, Hunger Games fans across the globe joined the rebellion and pushed li’l bro Liam Hemsworth to victory and beyond. Miley Cyrus‘ sweetie garnered 72 percent of the vote by the time polls closed today. (We’re guessing the Snow White and the Huntsman followers have been too distracted by that other little Kristen Stewart movie to click and refresh.)
So congrats to Liam. We’re looking forward to seeing a whole lot more of you — and not just Gale’s sadface alone in a meadow — very soon. And now that voting is over, we can all relax and be content with the fact that there is enough Hemsworth beauty to go around, and we never have to choose again. (But, Miley, you might want to hold on a little tighter.)
[Photos: Splash News Online, Lionsgate, Getty Images]
What’s better than a Hemsworth boy? Two, of course. But sorry, you can’t have both. We’re putting you between a rock-hard body and … another rock-hard body by making you choose. This week’s Hotness poll is a battle of the brothers. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Chris’ and Liam’s identical twinkling baby-blues and rugged Aussie look makes this decision a nail-biter. Chris’ 6’3 frame of muscle was a sight for sore eyes in his career-launching role as Thor. Yet, Liam had girls in a frenzy alongside is ex-girlfriend Miley Cyrus in The Last Song. And soon, the handsome Hemsworths will both take OMG to a new level with Liam in The Hunger Games and Chris in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Now it’s up to you to choose who’s hot versus who’s on fire. Here’s a smoking gallery for your viewing pleasure and to make that choice a little easier … just a little. Poll closes at 3 p.m. ET on Friday.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Just when your hands stopped shaking and you could stop pretending you had something in your eye, the Hunger Games trailer released Monday gets quickly followed up by another dose of cinematic awesomeness. People has new pics of the already-excellent looking film, including Jennifer Lawrence‘s heart-breaking expression as Katniss volunteers to save her sister’s life and a quiet moment between Katniss and Liam Hemsworth‘s Peeta. Also? Effie Trinket. We cannot even. “Katniss is so strong, so courageous, and when faced with this overly positive, super-enthusiastic Effie, [Jennifer] and I definitely had some great moments of conflict,” Elizabeth Banks, who looks as grotesquely fabulous as we would have hoped, told the magazine in their upcoming issue, out on Friday. No, we are not crying again! We seriously have something in our eye again! We need to get a pair of goggles or something so this would stop happening!
Are you already missing that hyperventilating feeling you got after watching the Hunger Games trailer? The one you had while reading the Hunger Games trilogy, too? Well, you could go skydiving to re-create the adrenaline rush while waiting for the movie to come out. Or you could just pick up Shatter Me, the book by debut author Tahereh Mafi that just hit shelves today.
“I’ve been locked up for 264 days,” 17-year-old Juliette says at the opening of the book, just when her solitary confinement has come to an end and she gets a cellmate, a boy who asks a whole lot of questions. The reason she’s locked up, we soon learn, is that she can kill a person simply by touching them. This affliction made her a pariah for her entire life, rejected even by her parents, and a terrible accident was the last straw. But as her new companion, Adam, tells her, the world outside the harsh asylum is hardly better. Before she was locked up, humans had already abused the earth so much that most animals were extinct, food was scarce and birds didn’t fly. But now a military regime called the Reestablishment has taken over the country, with their sights set on the world.
That plot alone is enough to reel us in (and it’s surely what reeled in 20th Century Fox, which bought up the movie rights back in March). But with so many teen dystopian novels flooding the market, what truly makes Shatter Me stand out from the pack is the beautiful, poetic nature of Juliette’s thoughts. (“I always wonder about raindrops. I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. … I am a raindrop.”) As she scribbles in her contraband notebook (and continues in her mind), many sentences are literally struck out, showing how she’s learned to censor her most vulnerable thoughts even to herself. And as she finds herself drawn to Adam, who may or may not be someone she knew long ago, her loneliness is palpable: “His touch is scorching through my skin through layers of fabric and I inhale so fast my lungs collapse. I’m caught in colliding currents of confusion, so desperate
so desperate so desperate to be close so desperate to be far away. I don’t know how to move away from him. I don’t want to move away from him.”
Can it be March 23, like, tomorrow? If you are any kind of Hunger Games fan, you’ve probably watched the trailer 20 times by now (assuming we haven’t all crashed the iTunes trailer site). And now I feel I can admit that until seeing it, I was still a little bit afraid. Afraid that, despite the best efforts of Gary Ross, Jennifer Lawrence and company, there was no way a movie could give me the same chills as Suzanne Collins‘ books. But wow. I think they really can do it now. And here’s why.
1. Katniss is brave and scared, tough and vulnerable. Jennifer Lawrence has said that she told Ross she didn’t want to look like a badass when she shot an arrow, and she doesn’t. There is thankfully no voiceover to explain Katniss’ complex emotions as she sacrifices herself for her sister, decides that she can’t afford to befriend Peeta and struggles with the idea that she’s not just a girl in a fight for survival, but a girl in a nationally televised fight for survival against other children.
Cancel your surgery and tell your kids to drive themselves to preschool: the Hunger Games trailer is set to premiere Monday, November 14 on Good Morning America sometime during the 8:00am hour. Josh Hutcherson will introduce the clip (shortly before he has his clothes torn off by howling fans), and the trailer will even be playing on a Jumbotron in Times Square, in case you needed a reason to be screaming Liam Hemsworth‘s name in front of the M&M store. While the Hunger Games teaser trailer offered some hints about the film in August, we are hoping the full trailer will give us more details about a few things, such as:
- The Cornucopia: Once we see the Cornucopia shining in the sun, we know the Games are on. So much delicious food, so many deadly weapons…so little time.
- Peeta declaring his crush on Katniss: Okay, sure, the “star-crossed lovers” relationship might be semi-manufactured to capture the hearts and minds of a bleak dystopia, but we’ve seen Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. We know Jen is going to make that emotion look real.
- The mutants: Guys, there has not nearly been enough hype about the bizarro animals, or muttations, that we have to look forward to during the Games. Wolf beasts with human eyes? Yes. Please.
- The fashion: Almost as awesome as the sure-to-be-disturbing tracker jackers, we’d love a glimpse of Effie Trinket’s amazing wigs, Caesar Flickerman’s powder blue eyelids or Cinna’s anything.
- The girl on fire: Here’s hoping we get a sneak peek of Katniss consumed in (synthetic) flame. If that doesn’t bring non-fans on board, nothing will.
What about you? What are you hoping we peep this coming Monday?
From what we’ve seen online of the Hunger Games feature for the December issue of Vanity Fair, the magazine didn’t get a ton of new scoop on the movie (or, very likely, they’re saving the good stuff for the newsstands). What they did get was a spectacular photo shoot with the cast. We’re particularly amused by the black-and-white pic of Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth lying in the grass and looking like an outtake from a Vampire Diaries poster.
The other thing that stands out to us, both from the interview
with Jennifer and the fun interactive cast guide, is how much everyone wants to convince us that this is a movie about kids killing kids. Check out these quotes:
Jennifer (Katniss), on the most difficult part of filming: “The fact that it didn’t feel like filming a movie. When we were filming in the woods, it didn’t have that Hollywood gloss — it was real snakes, real bears, and really scenes of running up and down a mountain for 13 hours.”
Liam (Gale): “I’d heard about how popular the books were, but I wasn’t quite aware of how dark and gritty the story was. It started me thinking and asking questions like, Could something like this actually happen to us one day?”
Well, no one’s on fire and no one is being stung by tracker jackers, but we’re sure Hunger Games fans are buzzing with excitement about the eight new posters showcasing the eight main characters. After you’ve calmed yourselves down a bit, let’s take another look at these profiles:
Katniss (debuted on Yahoo! Movies): She looks a bit softer than I picture the tough District 12 tribute — like the camera caught her thinking about her mother and Prim back home. But there’s still something to the set of her jaw that hints at her unfailing strength. Also, very subtle how they made Katniss face to the right while all the others face to the left.
Peeta: As our friend Amy at Hollywood Crush (where this poster debuted) says, “Peeta appears determined and yet somehow vulnerable, all at the same time. (Not to mention he looks so young, right?!)” He certainly doesn’t look like a kid who’s ever fought for his own survival, like Katniss has.
Josh Hutcherson‘s been doing the acting thing since age 10, though not until his impressive performance in The Kids Are All Right and then landing the coveted role of Peeta Mellark in the much-anticipated Hunger Games series did he hit our radar. Come March, this rising star is likely to catapult to Robert Pattinson-level fame, so get a jump-start on your fangirl game and celebrate his 19th birthday by checking out his 19 hottest looks. [Photos: Getty Images, Lionsgate]