10 Ways ‘The Hunger Games’ Movies Were Different Than the Books

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The Hunger Games books, by author Suzanne Collins, were a smash, worldwide phenomenon. And while that meant millions of readers were clamoring for movie versions, it also meant walking a gamut, because expectations were high.

Even though the filmmakers collaborated closely with Collins during casting and production, there are still a few marked differences between the page and the screen.

For me, none of the changes ruined anything (and in some places they enhanced the story), though I was never happy with how Peeta’s character came across in the visual format.

#10. Thresh

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In the book, he was dark-skinned with dark hair and is built “like an ox” at six-foot-six. In the movie, he’s buff but “smaller than expected.”

#9. Peeta Mellark

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In the books, Peeta had a leg amputated due to an infection suffered during the Games, and he also has blue eyes – Josh Hutcherson has brown eyes, and the production team made the choice to keep him able-bodied.

#8. The Muttations

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These mutated tributes are truly terrifying in the books, described as beasts engineered to have the bodies of dogs but the facial features of their formerly human selves – especially their eyes. The movie made them bland, hairless dog things – perhaps again to play down the horror aspect for younger fans.

#7. President Snow

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In the books, the trilogies villain is described as “a small, thin man with paper-white hair,” and repeatedly called snake-like by the heroine and her friends. He had to drink some of the poison he used on his enemies, which was the reason for the sores around his surgically-enhanced, bloody mouth.

Maybe the producers thought that description was just too scary for a kid’s film, or maybe they just thought roguish Donald Sutherland could pull off a different sort of creep. Either way, the result is markedly different.

#6. Seneca Crane

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No one is going to have a bad thing to say about Wes Bentley and his beard (perhaps not in that order), but in the books, Crane is middle-aged and utterly forgettable.

#5. Caesar Flickerman

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In the books, Flickerman had barely changed over the past 40 years due to injecting embalming fluid – Katniss describes him as having the “same face under a coating of pure white makeup. Same hairstyle that he dyes a different color for each Hunger Games. Same ceremonial suit, midnight blue dotted with a thousand tiny electric bulbs that twinkle like stars. They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner.”

In the movies, Stanley Tucci is still creepy but looks more understated and tired.

#4. Mags

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In the book, she’s in her 80s and toothless but Lynn Cohen made her more attractive and less decrepit.

#3. Haymitch

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Perhaps no one was glamorized more in the movie versions than Haymitch, who is described in the books as paunchy and middle-aged and showing the years of alcohol abuse badly.

Harrelson might not be the sexiest man alive these days, but he’s far from that.

#2. Buttercup

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In the first movie he was black and white, despite, you know, his name and the fact that he earned it because his “muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower.” He’s also described (by Katniss) as being the “world’s ugliest cat” with a “mashed-in nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squash.”

Not too flattering, and the re-casting for Catching Fire – at the behest of Collins and legion irked fans – was much better received.

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#1. President Alma Coin

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They sure made this woman more relatable and nice, even if she did still have a hard edge.

What did you think? Were you happy with how things turned out?