I recently jumped into the Hunger Games hysteria, and I enjoyed the first book in the series (the only one I’ve read so far) quite a bit. It’s a fast-paced story (sometimes too much so), and though I hate to echo the masses, I basically could not put it down. It’s definitely not high literature, but it’s a really fun read.
Of course, Jennifer Lawrence was recently cast as leading lady Katniss Everdeen. I thought they would be going for a younger cast, but Lawrence was fantastic in Winter’s Bone, so I’m happy to see her in anything. (But since she’s also in the X-Men reboot, I was kind of hoping that she wouldn’t be in any more big franchises.)
That leaves the two key roles of Peeta (Katniss’ companion in the Hunger Games) and Gale (her childhood friend from home). Slash Film recently released this list of supposed good bets for each of the roles:
Hunter Parrish – 23 years old (Weeds)
Josh Hutcherson – 18 years old (The Kids Are All Right)
Evan Peters – 24 years old (Kick-Ass)
Alexander Ludwig – 19 years old (Escape to Witch Mountain)
Lucas Till – 20 years old (Battle: LA, X-Men: First Class)
I have to echo the popular vote here and put my support behind Hunter Parrish for Peeta. He just seems like the perfect choice. I think that he’ll ultimately get the part, because he already has a strong fanbase and seems to be just on the cusp of being a huge star. He and Lawrence would probably make a good match, too.
I initially couldn’t picture Hutcherson as Peeta, but aside from the age difference between him and Lawrence, the idea is kind of growing on me. But to be honest, I actually think that he should aim higher than The Hunger Games. Despite being the youngest of this group, Hutcherson is probably the most established. He’s already done a lot of action-y blockbusters (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Zathura, Cique Du Freak), and with two more on the horizon (a Journey sequel and the Red Dawn re-boot), he should move on. Or, at least, he should go for movies where it’s his vehicle. Really, though, despite his jock-ish looks, I think he’s better suited for more low-key fare. He was really good in Bridge to Terabithia when he was only a young teen, and though he wasn’t given much to do, he showed considerable charisma in The Kids Are All Right.
As for Evan Peters, I like what I’ve seen from him. He made a good sidekick in Kick-Ass, and though it was a random, one-episode role, I really loved him as Michael Scott’s bored slacker nephew on The Office. He was also on the short-lived show Invasion from a few years ago, and I remember really liking him on that, too. It’s great to see him getting considered for big roles like these, but he seems like a strange fit for Peeta.
Lucas Till looks the part alright for Peeta, but I’ve never seen any of his movies, so I can’t really comment on his acting skill. But I will say that I think Parrish has a sturdier, more outward charisma that is required for the role.
Liam Hemsworth – 21 years old (The Last Song)
David Henrie – 21 years old (The Wizards of Waverly Place)
Robbie Amell – 22 years old (Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP)
Drew Roy – 24 years old (Secretariat, Greek)
I have to admit, I know virtually nothing about these guys. I know Hemsworth was in that Miley Cyrus movie and dated her for a while (are they still together? I can never keep track of these things, nor do I particularly want to), but he seems way too flashy for Gale. The other three all look the part decently, but based purely on looks, my vote out of that group would be for Drew Roy. He has the strongest “boy-next-door” vibe going for him. At 24, he seems way too old to be playing a character who’s 16 (or is he supposed to be/look older than he actually is in the book? I can’t remember.) but if they’re going to cast Lawrence and (hopefully) Parrish, he probably wouldn’t look too out of place.
The Hollywood Reporter says that things are “not limited” to the names above, which makes things interesting. They’d be crazy to go with anyone aside from Parrish (please not Alex Pettyfer!), but based on that list, the role of Gale seems to still be anyone’s game. I personally think Matthew Beard would be a good choice (you may remember him as the perpetually ignored Graham in An Education).