By Adam Spunberg and Savanna New

The Hunger Games world is abuzz with casting rumors. For those of you who don’t know, The Hunger Games is a futuristic trilogy set in a dystopian version of America, where children are forced to fight to the death on national television. The first in this immensely successful book series, by Suzanne Collins, is now being set to a highly anticipated film, which is expected to rival Harry Potter and Twilight.

We are extremely fortunate to have Gabby Vittoria and Pauline Hughes from The Hob to break down the leading contenders in this heated casting debate. In today’s installment, we weigh the potential of actors who — wait, what’s that smell? Is that blood? Here are the creepy candidates for President Snow.

Note: The Hob is one of the top fan sites on the web, and we strongly encourage that you visit their site for more information.

Part I: Katniss
Part II: Haymitch
Part III: Peeta
Part IV: Gale
Part V: Effie
Part VI: President Snow
Part VII: Prim
Part VIII: Cinna
Part IX: Rue
Part X: Tributes
Part XI: The Others

Related: Interview with Tanvi Berwah of Hunger Games Network on the international impact

Malcolm McDowell

Gabby: His eyes are just so Snow. Grade: A

Pauline: I think he has a good range to play someone a little odd, a little mysterious, and a little scary. Grade: A

Adam: McDowell goes one of two ways these days: funny, obnoxious character (Easy A, Entourage) or devilishly evil (Doomsday, among many others); this Malcolm is not in the middle. He has a snake-ish, skin-crawling quality when he wants to, mostly because he combines sophistication with depravity. He seems just the kind of man who could delight in watching 12-year-old tributes die, with blood on his hands — and breath. Grade: A

Savanna: Malcolm McDowell is such a master actor, he could probably play Katniss herself with aplomb. But if you take a look at his decades-spanning career, he seems especially suited for characters of the villainous variety. Maybe I’m still traumatized from seeing A Clockwork Orange at too young an age, but McDowell just exudes evil to me, and I can absolutely see him slipping Snow’s signature white rose into his lapel with ease. Grade: A

Bill Nighy

Gabby: I would rather see him as Haymitch, if I had to choose. Grade: B

Pauline: Bill Nighy could work, but I think perhaps he is a little too old-looking. Grade: B

Adam: There is no denying Bill Nighy’s talent as a thespian, but can the hilarious star from Love Actually get you to feel his deviance in your fingers and toes? Probably the most versatile actor on this list, you should really see him play the kind, reserved economist in The Girl in the Cafe to fully grasp his range. At the same time, his propensity for fantasy-world evil showed in Underworld and even Pirates of the Caribbean. However, I think his turn as Prime Minister in the last Harry Potter film is quite enough for now, with more revolting types like McDowell in the picture. Grade: B+

Savanna: It’s difficult for me to imagine someone with so much natural charisma and swagger playing such a sadistic character. That being said, Bill Nighy was rather horrific as the vampire king in Underworld, and I do think he could bring something very interesting to the table if cast as the President of Panem. After all, Snow is a politician, so he must have possessed a certain level of charm at some point before turning tyrant. Grade: B+

Zeljko Ivanek

Gabby: Zeljko Ivanek has been in a lot of things, and I always hate whatever character he plays. He was on Heroes, and I wanted him to die in the worst way. Grade: A-

Pauline: [Ivanek] fits the part perfectly in my head. I never pictured Snow to be really old, just creepy-looking ([although] with the way they all had plastic surgery in the Capitol, you could probably cast a 10-year-old in a role of a 60-year-old man). Grade: A+

Adam: The important thing to remember: all these Capitol figures have gotten more plastic surgery than Heidi Montag — and we assume their doctors are a lot better than Heidi’s (I hope!). Still, to say Ivanek’s face fits the description seems a bit of a stretch, even though he might pack enough menace to compensate. I’d prefer McDowell. Grade: B

Savanna: While reading the books, I think my mental image of Snow was always one of a man much older than Zeljko Ivanek. While I don’t believe Snow’s age is ever specifically referenced, he does have white hair, and we know that he’s been in power for at least two decades. After looking at some photos of Ivanek, however, and thinking about how fantastically creepy he was as the merciless Magister on True Blood, I’m willing to abandon my annoyingly rigid opinions on casting age-appropriate actors and approve him as a potential Snow. Grade: A

Picktainment’s Pick

Danny Huston

Adam: Something just works here. Behind that steely visage could be a maniacal villain, with enough stoicism to play the cold-blooded Snow without batting an eyelash. At the same time, he can appear presentable and gentrified, allowing him to gain popularity among the Capitol populace. As a wild card, Huston could be District 12’s worst nightmare and a Hunger Games fan’s first Snow. Grade: A

Savanna: Does he look the part? Definitely! It’s no secret that, like most Capitol dwellers, President Snow has been under the knife several times, and Danny Huston already looks like he’s had a bit of plastic surgery (maybe it’s the eyebrows?). Can he act the part? Um, yes! Born into the famed Huston family of actors and filmmakers, the craft runs through his veins, and his well-rounded filmography includes a good sprinkling of both psychopaths and authority figures. After McDowell, Huston may be my preferred choice. Grade: A

It’s worth mentioning that each potential Snow on this list has, at some point, portrayed a vampire on screen (Huston led a band of bloodsuckers in 30 Days of Night and McDowell sported fangs in a 1991 episode of Tales from the Crypt). This is either a testament to the timeless appeal of vampire lore as a cinematic theme, or a sign of something much, much deeper. You be the judge.

Adam Spunberg is a senior writer at Picktainment and founder of the Austen Twitter Project. Email him at or tweet @AdamSpunberg.

Savanna New is an associate editor at Picktainment. Email her at