For weeks now it’s seemed like the movie geek community has been bombarded with little other than casting news for The Hunger Games. And you know, I get it. The books are really popular, they’re pretty fun reads, and if adapted right they will make interesting movies. But I have to admit, after the main three roles of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale got cast, I kind of tuned out to the barrage of smaller casting news we’ve been getting over the past few weeks. Do I really want to write up an article about a relative unknown named Willow Shields being cast as the little sister? But now a couple of awesome-bombs have been dropped on the Hunger Games news racket, and I find myself excited all over again.
First a brief recap, The Hunger Games will be an adaptation of a series of novels where kids fight each other to the death in a yearly bloodbath set up by the evil rulers of a post apocalyptic world. The main character is a girl named Katniss Everdeen, she’s picked to go fight in the games, and Jennifer Lawrence will be playing her. Katniss has a couple of boy toys as well. One is a good-natured baker’s some named Peeta Mellark, and Josh Hutcherson will be playing him. The other is an embittered poacher named Gale Hawthorne, and Liam Hemsworth will be playing him.
What is the new news that has me excited? The first is that Heat Vision is reporting Paula Malcomson has been signed to play Katniss’ mother in the film. Malcomson is a real “oh hey, that chick” kind of character actress that has torn it up on a lot of cool TV shows like Deadwood, Caprica, and Sons of Anarchy. Katniss’ mom has had a hard life and is kind of a space cadet. Ever since the death of her husband she’s mostly checked out of the world and left it up to Katniss to take care of the family. Not only do I think Malcomson is a great actress, but after watching her perfect the patented 1000 yard hooker stare on Deadwood, I would say that she’s perfect for the part.
The second bit of news is that Vulture is reporting that one of my favorite actors working today, John C. Reilly, is close to being signed for the role of Haymitch Abernathy. Who is Haymitch? At one point he was the only person from Katniss’ district to ever be the survivor of The Hunger Games. Now he’s mostly just a drunk, a worthless, sloppy, smelly, fall-down drunk. And he’s the guy who gets picked to coach Katniss and Peeta to become underage gladiators. I’m over the moon about this casting. If it falls apart last minute, I just may cry. Haymitch is a drunken idiot, sure, but he’s also got to be pretty wily and tough. Not just anybody can survive the vicious Hunger Games. It’s going to take a talented actor to play that bit of subtlety into the drunkenness. I think Reilly is the perfect choice to play the part. Picture a mix of that wasted manchild he’s playing in the first act of Cyrus mixed with a little bit of the cocky swagger he had as the corrupt constable in Gangs of New York. Reilly can play the doofus, we know that for sure, but don’t forget that he can pull off burly meathead as well. While I love most of the comedy work that he’s been doing, I’d be excited to see him take on something more dramatic like this role again. With the constant barrage of reporting on the film, I had kind of forgot that I’m legitimately excited for The Hunger Games. Boom, now it’s right back on my radar.