Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly
Back in May, Hunger Games fans got their first taste of what they could expect from the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling book series -- about a dystopian future in which children are forced to fight to the death on national TV -- when Entertainment Weekly unveiled an image of 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence decked out in her Katniss Everdeen regalia, looking every bit the heroine. Now, EW is at it again, offering the premiere peek at Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as the movie's two main male characters Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne. (Check out the photo above.)
Fans of the series who were skeptical when director Gary Ross cast the brown-haired Hutcherson, 18, as blond Peeta and the blond Hemsworth, 21, as black-haired Gale can go ahead and breath a big sigh of relief. As is evident in the photo, both guys have dyed their locks the appropriate hue, packed on some muscle and look an awful lot like the characters Collins' described in her books.
For the uninitiated, in the young-adult novels Peeta is a well-built, fair-haired, even-tempered 16-year-old baker's son. He's harbored a crush on Katniss since they were 5, and once saved her life by giving her bread when she was starving. Gale is Katniss' 18-year-old best friend and hunting partner. Like Peeta, he's also secretly head over heels for Ms. Everdeen.
But while Peeta and Gale are rivals in the books and (soon) on the screen, they guys who play them are anything butt. In fact, Hutcherson and Hemsworth bonded so much during the North Carolina shoot -- which is now about halfway done -- that Josh brought Liam to his hometown of Kentucky one weekend to meet his family. Says Hutcherson, "I think it's going to blow people's minds when they see that Peeta and Gale are actually best friends in real life."