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'Hunger Games' actors talk race, weight at Kids' Choice Awards

April 2, 2012 | 10:19 am

Amandla Stenberg signs "The Hunger Games" autographs

"The Hunger Games" has dominated the box office for two consecutive weekends now -- but with that success has come some vitriol from critics of Suzanne Collins' beloved young adult series.

Last week, stars Lenny Kravitz and Amandla Stenberg found themselves the subjects of some vicious attacks from fans questioning why the filmmakers cast black actors in those roles. The character Stenberg plays, the wide-eyed Rue, has "dark brown skin and eyes" in Collins' book.

Despite the critiques, the 13-year-old actress was all smiles at the Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, and said she's appreciated all the support she's received from fans during the last week. She even got a message from an unexpected supporter: M.C. Hammer.

"He said, 'Respect for the people!'" Amandla said with a smile.

Oh, but that's not all some "Hunger Games" viewers are in a tizzy about. A slew of reviewers have criticized Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the cast for not looking "hungry" enough in the film.

"A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission," said Manohla Dargis of the New York Times.

Dayo Okeniyi, who plays the character Thresh, called that sentiment "beyond ridiculous."

"Suzanne Collins said in an interview, if Josh [Hutcherson] was blue and came from Mars, she would still cast him in this movie because his soul is the soul of Peeta," the actor said on the orange carpet. "I wish all movies were cast like that."


Josh Hutcherson on "The Hunger Games" ... and apple pie

Was Jennifer Lawrence too well fed for 'The Hunger Games'?

'Hunger Games': Lenny Kravitz had bisexual inspiration for Cinna

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Amandla Stenberg signs autographs at the Grove. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images