It is currently the most coveted female role in Hollywood. The Hunger Games is expected to be the next major movie franchise and casting for Katniss has been an obsession for fans and pop culture pundits as we are just about a year away from the film’s theatrical release. They have to start shooting soon. So they need a leading lady. And who?

I’d been hearing whispers about it all week in LA. Jennifer Lawrence’s name came up repeatedly. Then, over the weekend, sources confirmed to me exclusively that she’d read for it and they loved her. So much. Like no one else they’ve seen has even come close to what she delivered. The way it was described to me: “Jennifer really went for it and she blew them away”. I’m told a deal is being hammered out right now. And they’re almost there. Some details still need to be finalised, and anything can happen where negotiations are concerned, but they’re close. Lionsgate apparently really wants her.

Also, did you watch Ben’s interview with her on etalk during our live red carpet? Lawrence’s mother read Winter’s Bone a few years ago and Jennifer got the part. So we asked her what mom is reading now. Her answer: The Hunger Games, with a knowing look at her daughter and a cheeky smile. Jennifer quickly shushed her, and moved to change the subject, quite clearly a little flustered….

So… Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Thoughts? We can talk about it some more during the liveblog later.

Attached – Lawrence at the Spirit Awards

Photos from Alberto E. Rodriguez/Frazer Harrison/GABRIEL BOUYS/Gettyimages.com