Casting Announced for Peeta and Gale in Hunger Games Film

We’ve been hashing our thoughts about Jennifer Lawrence as the film makers’ choice to play Katniss in the forthcoming cinematic adaptation of The Hunger Games. Now Effie Trinket has reached into the big glass ball (after all, she always chooses the boy after the girl—ladies first!) and selected Lawrence’s co-stars: Peeta Mellark will be played by Josh Hutcherson and Gale Hawthorne by Liam Hemsworth.

Not surprisingly, they are both appealing to the eye, but, like Miss Lawrence, perhaps they will bring far more to their roles than attractively mussed hair and melting stares.

I associate Hutcherson primarily with family films like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Zathura, and Polar Express, and thus I feel fairly optimistic about him. Though he does have brown hair (and his eyes look to be brown or hazel, rather than blue-hooray for contacts!), he is a very expressive and compelling young man, who has impressed me with sensitive performances in technically complex or action-centered roles. A big plus—he loves the books. Check out his pre-casting hopes in which he was looking forward to the challenges of a hijacked Peeta portrayal in Mockingjay. A homeschooler, he seems to be a thinker, and he’s definitely a reader. I’m waiting to see his performance, but I’m giving him a high training score.

Hemsworth does appear a bit older than the other two, which will be god for Gale, and he has a good presence, but it’s a bit disconcerting that the first thing that comes up his bio is usually the fact that he is dating Miley Cyrus, which is not a strong endorsement, and presents the terrifying possibility that she may be included now (though she’d make a swell Glimmer, ugh, swell, just what Glimmer does. Yuck). I just can’t see a Miley song in the credits for this one.

These casting decisions, though filled with potential, still demonstrate the Gamemaker-like approach we’ve seen so far. It’s probably too much to hope that an unknown Latina will be cast as Rue, or that Greasy Sae will be pulled from a diner in a coal town in SW Virginia. But maybe the odds will be in our favor. As always, your thoughts, comments, and insights are appreciated.

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  1. The Hunger Games author has joined in the franchise’s defense of its choices for Peta and Gale in anticipation (!) of objections:

    “Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins: “I was fortunate enough to be in the room with Gary Ross when Josh came in to audition. 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.”

  2. revgeorge says

    I’m thrilled to say I probably won’t even see the movie. 🙂

  3. What revgeorge said. 😀 I’m a bit optimistic about these casting choices, though–yeah, they’re primped and poofed in the photos, but to a certain extent need to be to make it in the industry. So maybe they’ll be able to use the HG films to critique and question what at the moment they’re a part of. Just a thought.

  4. I think that comment from Suzanne Collins may have been released more in response to fan objections, since they’ve been mostly negative. People’s main problems seem to be that Hutcherson is more nice-looking than good-looking (also very young looking), and that Hemsworth is good-looking but has bad acting. Apparently Hutcherson is also (gasp!) shorter than Jennifer Lawrence; all in all not “heartthroby” enough. I don’t think we’ll be seeing his face on any Burger King products.

    But I do think it will be interesting to see how they handle that in the movie. I think it’d be funny to see the gamemakers worrying whether Peeta was good-looking/tall/whatever enough for the audience to play out the romantic lead in the arena. Since that’s basically what’s going on in the fandom right now.

  5. FWIW, the Twilight fandom reacted much the same about Kristen, Rob and Taylor. Along with denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, there was also a good amount of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

    As it turned out, in some ways, the fans were right about their concerns and criteria.

    And, as it turned out, in some ways, the filmmakers were right about their concerns and criteria.

    I think the Twilight trinity (and supporting actors) turned out to be a good cast. In the end, the thing itself was so huge that perhaps it didn’t really matter so much. What no one really seemed to anticipate was that the most important factor was going to be how well these young people dealt with enormous, crushing, ridiculous demands of super stardom.

    Let’s hope Jennifer, Josh and Liam are up to the task.

    I remember how periodically on tween shows, like Lizzie McGuire, the writers would insert episodes where one of their three stars would get a big head and would learn that they weren’t so hot after all. Which I assumed was meant to be a little education for the young stars. And they seemed to have turned out okay.

    So I suspect that THG itself will become a help to these young people playing characters who are much in the same boat. From their experiences, if they do keep growing through it all, I would think we’ll get some compelling performances from them.

  6. Well I’m pretty stoked… for Jennifer Lawrence and for Josh Hutcherson especially. I don’t ever remember reading that Peeta was good-looking in the books – this seems to be borne of avid female readers (no problem with that, I’m just commenting on the casting expectations). I think the fact that the castings were unexpected speaks volumes for what kind of movie they’re making – I like that they’re not listening to the fans, because we all of us have a tendency to place great faith in appearances and not what comes across on the screen. Twilight, for instance, has a rather patchy cast in terms of acting skill. Yes, Robert Pattinson LOOKS like Edward, but for me, never ACTS like him…. I don’t know. Just throwing the thoughts out there.

    … Also, Rue, as far as I’m aware, will be African-American. Don’t remember any reference to her being Latina, either. Sorry to be a stickler.

  7. Emily Kathryn says

    OMG Really okay when I pictured the characters of this book, Josh Hutcherson never occured in my mind at all. Liam Hemsworth, to me, should play Peeta. I mean come on, HE IS PERFECT !! As for Gale, why not Talor Lautner? He is dark and HOT !!! Jennifer Lawrence, i beleive, is a good person to play the role of Katniss, Even though her looks do not really match Katniss’s description, if you have watched Winter Bones you will agree that the role she played related to the way Katniss does. Nothing a little hair die and spray tan cant fix, and at least she is gorgeous, Josh, on the other hand, not so much. I think that they should match the actors with the characters as much as possible because so many people read the book and are looking forward to the movie, and to change the apperence of the characters will have everyone disappionted. If the book describes the character a certain way, I am pretty sure that there is someone out there to fit the part.

  8. Looks like Thresh and Rue have been cast now, too.

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