Kravitz may leave fans hungry

By Gus Bode

Lionsgate picked a winner when they bought the rights to turn a gripping New York Times best-seller into a movie. They picked a loser, though, when they decided to give Lenny Kravitz a role in it.

“The Hunger Games” is the first of three books by Suzanne Collins about a post-apocalyptic North American nation called Panem controlled by their government, known as the Capitol. The Capitol emphasizes its power through the Hunger Games, in which 24 male and female adolescents are randomly chosen to fight to the death in an arena. The Capitol then broadcasts the event as a reality show and forces all of Panem to watch.

The book is well worth the read, and it’s filled with intricate character development and exciting plot twists that will catch readers off guard.

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The movie, which is set to hit the big screen March 23, 2012, is receiving its fair share of positive buzz in anticipation of its arrival.

Many big-name actors and actresses will star in it, including Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique in “X-Men: First Class”) as main character Katniss Everdeen; Josh Hutcherson  (Sean Anderson in 2008’s remake of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”) as Peeta Mellark; and Woody Harrelson, who has a fat resume with his role as the charmingly simple and naive Woody Boyd in the TV show “Cheers” alone.

And the talent doesn’t stop there. The movie’s director, Gary Ross, directed 1998’s “Pleasantville” and 2003’s “Seabiscuit,” which were nominated for a combined 10 Academy Awards. There’s clearly plenty of merit coming with the production of this sci-fi thriller.

But then enters Lenny Kravitz, the has-been rock star who’s best known for a song that wasn’t even his to begin with.

If you were to ask any random Joe Blow who Kravitz is, the most they would probably be able to remember is that he’s the singer who covers “American Woman” on any television show he makes a guest appearance on.

Ask the same Joe Blow if they know anything about “The Hunger Games” or Cinna, Kravitz’s role in the movie as Everdeen’s costume stylist, and they would likely be able to contribute more to the conversation. Perhaps the highly anticipated movie could make a new name for the few-hit fumbler.

Kravitz isn’t completely without virtue, though. He does have some face time in the movie “Precious” as Nurse John, the role that interested Ross in casting Kravitz.

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But there’s a rather large difference between the two roles.  Kravitz had about 40 lines and three scenes in “Precious” but will have many more in “The Hunger Games.” He’s also going to have a much larger audience to please since his character is one of political influence and understood compassion while his character in “Precious” was anything but.

I have to hand it to the guy, though. Kravitz’s role as a nurse — not even a doctor — was smooth, and he made every line count. Hopefully Kravitz can muster the same in “The Hunger Games.”

Plus, he’ll be playing a fashion designer, so there will be no reason to rid him of his trademark hoop earrings and flashy attire. If he had to have any piece of this blockbusting pie, I’m glad it was this one.

But is this just a publicity stunt? I’ll bet that many Lenny Kravitz fans have no idea that he has an album, “Black and White America,” coming out at the end of August or that he’s releasing a single, “Stand,” June 6. Kravitz’s Twitter revealed that he will also be going on tour with U2 June 4-18.

Maybe Kravitz is finally ready for people to know his name for more than two songs and a cover. Whatever it proves to be, it better be worth the hole in my pocket that the movie ticket’s price will burn.

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