Back in September we learned that Gary Ross would direct the coveted feature adaptation of Hunger Games. The book is the first in the novel trilogy by author Suzanne Collins and EW recently spoke to Ross about his vision for the big screen version. And most importantly what is he’s looking for when it comes to casting the series’ heroine Katniss Everdeen.

The story for the Hunger Games takes place in the futuristic ruins of North America, which crumbled and was replaced by a Capitol and 12 districts. Each district is forced to supply 2 teenagers, between 12 and 18. They participate in The Hunger Games, a televised reality series that pits the contestants against one another in a battle to the death. The heroine is 16-year old Katniss Everdeen, a skilled hunter who’s adept with a bow and arrow. She replaces her younger sister, who was chosen in a lottery. She is joined by a baker’s son who is also chosen from her dirt poor home district.

Ross hasn’t met with any actors yet, but he promises that the character of Katniss won’t be dumbed down. He said, “I’ve talked to Suzanne extensively and I feel like I understand the character really, really well,” he said. “I feel like I know who that girl needs to be.”

There’s been a lot of pressure coming from the online community who want to see an unknown actor in the role, which is a possibility that Ross doesn’t rule out.

“We’ll cast the right person for the part. Lionsgate has been great in the respect that they don’t feel that this needs a movie star in Katniss’ role. The greatest thing about the franchise and the books being the star is that we can cast whoever we want. So we all feel like we’re just going to cast the right person.”

The big question is, will this “right person” have to fit Hollywood’s overdramatized standard of beauty? Ross said that all of Katniss’ beauty and charm will come from within, which sounds like a great sentiment but will a studio buy that?

“What makes Katniss attractive is her strength and her assuredness and her defiance and ultimately her compassion. And I don’t mean just physical strength. I mean a real strength as a human being. She knows her own truth. She feels deeply and fiercely. And this is something that the actress has to bring with her.”

Hmm, we hope he finds someone who has all that and more.

Who do you think should play Katniss in Hunger Games?