Presidential beards were popular in the 19th century and they become popular again sometime in our dystopian
future. On the left is President Coriolanus Snow of Panem and on the right, President Ulysses S. Grant.
When blond-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence was cast last year as the dark-haired, olive-skinned and grey-eyed heroine Katniss for the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy the decision was met with outrage from some bloggers. Perhaps they hadn't considered hair dye or contact lenses, but that doesn't diminish the fact that it's much more rare to see Hollywood go darker than lighter when casting films. One exception was Will Smith in I Am Legend, which suggested cross-racial casting is rooted just as much in the stupidity of star power as it is racism. Lawrence had just been nominated for playing a hillbilly in Winter's Bone, so she was as obvious a choice for the role of the Appalachian Katniss as Peter Dinklage is for any character under 5 feet, or Hayden Panettiere a cheerleader. Having just seen the movie, what's baffling to me is why anyone would find it preferable -- as in less offensive -- to have a black or mixed-race girl in the role given the fantasy world that's been (re-)constructed.