Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images;Dominique Charriau/WireImage
With Monday's announcement that Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth would be joining Jennifer Lawrence in the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' super-popular young-adult novel The Hunger Games, the film's core trio has been set. Now the question is: Did Lionsgate and director Gary Ross get the casting right?
They certainly seem to have hit the nail on the head with 20-year-old Lawrence. She proved her true grit with an Oscar-nominated turn in 2010's acclaimed indie Winter's Bone. That film required her to skin a squirrel (for real), a talent that will no doubt come in handy playing heroine Katniss Everdeen, a brave 16-year-old forced by the government to participate in the titular Hunger Games, an annual event where kids fight to the death on live TV. Sounds harsh, right? Well that's because the book -- and its two follow-ups (yep, there's movie franchise potential here) -- takes place in a war-ravaged post-apocalyptic America (renamed Panem), and the government wants to prove that not even kids are beyond the reach of "the Capitol."
Hutcherson, 18, also seems like a good choice for the role of Peeta Melark, Katniss' love interest and fellow participant in the Hunger Games. Hutcherson has proved his affinity for action in Journey to the Center of the Earth, and he showed off his acting chops in last year's The Kids Are All Right. The only thing he'll have to change for his part in the flick? His hair color; Hutcherson has brown hair, while Peeta sports shaggy blonde locks.
Still, Collins has confidence in the young actor. "I was fortunate enough to be in the room with Gary Ross when Josh came in to audition," the author said in a statement. "Three lines into the read I knew he'd be fantastic. Josh totally captured Peeta's temperament, his sense of humor and his facility for language. I'm thrilled to have him aboard."
Producer Nina Jacobs is equally excited to have 21-year-old Hemsworth in the cast as strong-silent-type Gale Hawthorne, Katniss' friend and hunting partner... and another potential suitor. Of Hemsworth -- who is best known for his role as Miley Cyrus' love interest in The Last Song (and for being her on again-off again boyfriend in real life) -- Jacobs said in a statement: "Gale is a young man who uses words very sparingly, so the onus was on the actor we cast to capture him by showing, not telling. This was accomplished so beautifully in Suzanne's writing, and Liam was able to translate it so naturally to the screen."
Will audiences and fans agree that this is the perfect cast to take the beloved trilogy to the big screen? With a lucrative franchise hanging in the balance, everyone involved sure hopes so. What do you think? Vote in our poll!