Most of the young cast surrounding Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth in The Hunger Games will be comprised of unknowns. For the scattered adult roles, Lionsgate is looking to more familiar faces. Elizabeth Banks was confirmed as Effie Trinket earlier today, and word on the street says the studio is after John C. Reilly to play drunken mentor Haymitch. Vulture hears Lionsgate has sent out offers to a bevy of actors for other supporting roles, including Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz. Strict nondisclosure agreements have prevented too many details leaking, though Harrelson was linked to the role of Seneca Crane, the designer behind the Hunger Games that pit 24 teens against each other in a fight to the death.
The Hunger Games, based on the first book in a series by Suzanne Collins, is scheduled for release on March 23, 2012. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) will direct from a script by Billy Ray (State of Play). Read the official synopsis and a bit of casting/character speculation after the break.
If I recall, Seneca Crane is a very small role, one that doesn’t warrant a Woody Harrelson in compressed movie time. If the rumor is accurate, I wonder if he and Plutarch Heavensbee, Seneca’s successor as Head Gamemaker. That hypothetical role is Harrelson-sized, and seems a reasonable way to economize the adaptation from page to screen.
The stylist Cinna is pretty much a younger version of Tucci’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, but Tucci is too old to play the character as written. I think he’d make a great Caeser Flickerman, the flamboyant yet canny television interviewer. Perhaps you’d prefer to see Tucci play the reptilian villain President Snow. Hell, Tucci would make a great Haymitch if things don’t work out with Reilly. Wherever they plug him in, Tucci is a great addition.
Kravitz is also a viable contender for Cinna, I suppose. But I picture him as fellow stylist Flavius, “a man with orange corkscrew locks who wears purple lipstick.” That was Kravitz’s go-to style in 1997.
The Hunger Games is a worldwide fan phenomenon, the novel having been on the New York Times best seller list for over 130 consecutive weeks. The film chronicles Katniss Everdeen’s defiant struggle to survive in a future dystopia where The Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to atone for their onetime insurrection through the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death event held in a fantastical man made arena. Although persevering through extreme hardship is commonplace for the audacious heroine, she is forced to make choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home to District 12.
THE HUNGER GAMES will be directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Collins’ best-selling novel, which has over 3 million copies in print in the United States alone, is the first in a trilogy of science fiction/action novels which have developed a global following.