After a lot of colorful online debate and a scouring of the young Hollywood scene by director Gary Ross and company, finally the main male roles have been cast for The Hunger Games. The casting doesn’t come as much of a shock, as these guys are the ones whose names have been getting mentioned over and over for the past couple weeks; but now it’s official. Lionsgate has announced that Josh Hutcherson will play the role of Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth will be Gale Hawthorne opposite Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.
The Hunger Games, as has been described ad nauseum over the past month or so, tells the story of a young girl in a lousy future world who gets picked to participate in an annual event where children hunt each other on a giant game board, Running Man style. Peeta is the soulful baker’s son that has had a crush on Katniss ever since they were children, and who is picked to go into the games with her as the male contestant from their district. He is kind of the moral center of the story, and the one character that is never in it for himself. Gale is Katniss’ longtime friend and companion. Every day they travel outside of their district’s gate to engage in illegal hunting, in order to better feed their families. Gale is more intense than Peeta, and has a burning resentment toward the tyrannical regime that controls their lives. Just before Katniss is called away to the games, their feelings for one another start to grow a bit more complicated than simple friendship.
I think Hutcherson showed a sensitivity and ability to emote in last year’s The Kids Are All Right that will serve him well in taking on the role of Peeta. Hemsworth I’ve never seen work, but seeing as he was in Knowing, it’s probably about time that I checked him out. The idea that there’s another Nic Cage movie out there that I haven’t seen eats me up inside. The two actors definitely look right when their pictures are put next to each other though, with Hutcherson looking more like the baby faced, nice guy and Hemsworth the edgier bad boy. I think we got out of this one okay. Is anybody out there upset with the casting? Let’s hear the rants!