Jodelle Ferland dressed up as Katniss Everdeen for Halloween and posted the photo up on Twitter the other day (click here to see) and everyone lost their sh-t wondering if she’d been cast as the heroine of The Hunger Games. I’m sure she’s a lovely girl, but Ferland is not my Katniss. She’d probably love to be – like every actress mildly in the age vicinity – but, no, at least that’s not how I pictured it.

Ferland has that North American Disney kid quality about her – Taylor Lautner manifests this so well: earnest, effort-y, no mystery, not very aloof, so very eager.

Katniss is many things. But Katniss is not eager. Katniss is Reluctance personified. There is no one MORE unwilling than Katniss. And she’s a bitch. A forlorn, sulky bitch, as well as a brave and protective and loyal daughter/sister/friend. It’s a complicated character. But it has to be subtle. None of this too obvious, too overacted, too precocious acting style that’s been shoved down our throats by so many of these teen-driven vehicles.

I think I found her.

The other day I went with Fiona to see Never Let Me Go. When I screened it for TIFF, it was so rushed, I was running from carpet to carpet to shoot to shoot, constantly looking at my watch, had no time to absorb all the details. On this viewing however she was Katniss right away.

Elle Purnell? Who? Exactly. You’ve never heard of her. After all, no one went to see Never Let Me Go.

Keira Knightley’s character is called Ruth. Young Ruth is played by Ella Purnell. Right now she’s 14. She’s exquisite in the film. A devious little brat, sensitive at times, capable of caring, but emotionally manipulative too, in a way that reveals something more profound than simple competition between girls. It’s a deft performance, and if you care about Katniss, you should see Never Let Me Go just to gauge whether or not Ella can pull it off. I think you’ll find her more than adequate.

This is Ella at the London Film Festival premiere and photocall for Never Let Me Go.

Photos from