Most of the characters in The Hunger Games films are young or middle-aged, and the reason why is obvious: it’s hard to stay alive for very long in this dystopian society. People who are old usually belong in the Capitol; in any other district, old age comes from constant struggle or the luck of having some sort of income, such as the bakery that Peeta’s family runs. So we don’t get to meet very many older citizens.
My favorite older citizens in Panem, however, is Mags—the district four victor and mentor we meet in book two, Catching Fire. Mags is selfless, kind, and even a bit funny; Katniss really admires her and so do many fans. So who should the honor of playing this elderly spitfire?
My Hunger Games, a fansite of the series, has announced their picks and poll for Mags, and my favorite is among them—Dame Maggie Smith. Smith is one of my absolute favorite actresses, hands-down, and she would be brilliant in this role. In fact, it was Smith whom I pictured while reading the book. She’s fierce and funny without being trite, and her face is one of the most expressive in the entire acting industry. She would definitely do the character most justice.
That said, I was intrigued by a few other selections at the website. I really don’t think Meryl Streep or Betty White would be good for this role; I love them both dearly but I don’t think they have the look for Mags. Most of the others that fans seem to like don’t really fit the character, either. But I could see Vanessa Redgrave, Lois Smith, or Lindsay Duncan as Mags; they all seem to have the range to play her as well as the look. Mags, you must understand, has trouble speaking and babbles a bit; she is, after all, at least eighty years old. She’s seen a lot of Hunger Games in her lifetime and her portrayal should definitely reflect this.
Come to think of it, Jeannette Miller and Sissy Spacek might just fit the role of Mags well, too. I happen to love Spacek and could definitely see her doing some of the things Mags does so gently, with such care and humor.
Still, Smith is my ultimate favorite for this role, and she is whom I would cast if the decision was mine to make. Who would you choose as Mags and why?