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Lenny Kravitz to play Cinna in 'The Hunger Games' film

Lenny Cravitz plays Cinna in 'The Hunger Games' Lenny Kravitz will join the cast of "The Hunger Games" as Cinna, the stylist and friend to heroine Katniss Everdeen in the big-screen adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel.

Kravitz, who played an orderly in the Oscar-nominated film "Precious," has been cast as the designer from Panem's Capitol who is assigned to give Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) a makeover before partaking in the nationally televised ceremonies that precede the 74th annual Hunger Games -- a battle to the death between 24 boys and girls from the various North American districts.

"When I saw Lenny's work in 'Precious,' I was just knocked out," director Gary Ross said in a statement. "It was quiet and strong and understated and open-hearted; all qualities which define this character. I'm really looking forward to this ride."

Kravitz joins Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Wes Bentley in the film about a deadly game that fatally pits Katniss against her peers and love interest for the entertainment of the Panem -- a dystopian country that remains in the ruins of North America.

Photos: Meet the cast of 'Hunger Games'

The "Fly Away" singer made a name for himself as a rock musician over two decades, has won four consecutive Grammys and has set the record for most wins in the male rock performance category. He has also appeared in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "Zoolander." Kravitz is set to release his ninth studio album, "Black and White America" on Aug. 30.

His character, Cinna, is a mild-mannered first-time stylist whose own wardrobe is much less flamboyant than that of his fellow Capitol citizens. He usually wears all black with just a touch of gold eyeliner. He creates designs such as the "Girl on Fire" costume for Katniss and her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), which gives them a highly public profile that prompts wealthy benefactors to occasionally intervene in the games, giving them gifts to ensure their safety in the arena. 

"The stunning and unique designs Cinna creates for Katniss define her public identity, and in an all too real way, could also contribute to her very survival," according to a statement from Lionsgate.

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'The Hunger Games': Woody Harrelson cast as Haymitch Abernathy; District 10 tributes named

Woody Harrelson cast in 'The Hunger Games' Woody Harrelson will be joining Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci and Liam Hemsworth in "The Hunger Games," the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel about a deadly match that pits teens against one another.

Harrelson will play Haymitch Abernathy, a former Hunger Games champion who becomes a mentor to Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and the other "tributes" from his district competing in the nationally televised event. Tributes are boys and girls ages 12 to 18, two from each of 12 districts in the country of Panem, who are offered up to participate in the annual fight to the death.

"Haymitch is such an unforgettable character: funny cranky outrageous, sarcastic, impatient, biting but ultimately kind," director Gary Ross said in a statement. "I'm so grateful we have Woody Harrelson to play him. I can't wait for us to get to work."

Photos: Meet the cast of 'Hunger Games'

Lionsgate described Harrelson's character as strong and attractive in his youth, transformed to jaded and unfocused after competing in the deadly arena. He's also drunk most of the time; however, mentoring Everdeen and Peeta (played by Josh Hutcherson) sobers him up.

Harrelson previously starred in "Zombieland" and "No Country for Old Men." But you may recognize him from a little show called "Cheers."

District 10 tributes have also been cast: newcomer Dakota Hood and stuntman Jeremy Marinas, who has appeared as a dancer in Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never," "The Green Hornet" and "The Expendables." 

Stanley Tucci was added to the cast Monday; he'll be playing flamboyant Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman.

Actors playing Katniss' designer Cinna, President Snow and the tributes Cato and Clove have yet to be announced, but shooting is set to begin this month with a theatrical release set for March 23, 2012.

Do you think Harrelson will make a good Haymitch? Tell us in comments.

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Photo: Woody Harrelson. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


Stanley Tucci cast in 'The Hunger Games'

Stanley Tucci cast in 'The Hunger Games' This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

Stanley Tucci will be joining Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games."

Tucci will play Caesar Flickerman, the upbeat host of the Hunger Games, a twisted entertainment spectacle that pits teenage boys and girls against one another and is televised for all of North America to see.

Tucci appeared in "The Devil Wears Prada," "Julie & Julia" and recently in "Burlesque."  He is generally a character actor long known for his good-guy roles, but his startling performance as a pedophile/killer in  "The Lovely Bones" earned him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination last year.

He'll be playing Abraham Erskine in this summer's superhero flick "Captain America: The First Avenger" starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones.

Flickerman, Tucci's "Hunger Games" persona, is a smooth-talking character known for his "outrageous appearance and buoyant personality." The host conducts interviews with the 24 tributes -- boys and girls from each of the country's 12 districts -- that are presented on every television in the nation. 

"He is famous for turning any conversation around to the positive and finding humor in even the most dire circumstances," according to a statement from Lionsgate. 

We love Tucci in over-the-top roles, so we're excited to see how he fares in powder blue eyeshadow.

Last week, "American Beauty's" Wes Bentley was added to the cast as Seneca Crane, the head game-maker of the 74th annual Hunger Games.

The film, which goes into production this month, is due out March 23, 2012.

For the record, 3 p.m. May 8: This post originally said Tucci was nominated for an Oscar this year. In fact, Tucci was up for the Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010.

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Photo: Stanley Tucci. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Elizabeth Banks lands 'Hunger Games' role: Effie Trinket

Elizabeth Banks will play the Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games Thanks to "The Hunger Games," Elizabeth Banks ain't starving for work -- the "30 Rock" actress has landed a major part in the upcoming film adaptation of the hit book series.

"Yes! And I can now confirm I'm EFFIE TRINKET in @TheHungerGames," the actress tweeted on Thursday, joining Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson in the cast.

The Effie role, about which Miss Banks so excitedly screams in all caps, is described as an "insufferable" escort for participants in the novel's sport, which is a hunt for food in a cold and scary futuristic North America.

On "30 Rock," Banks has a recurring role as the wife of  Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy. She'll also be seen in this year's "My Idiot Brother" opposite Paul Rudd.

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Photo: Elizabeth Banks at the 2011 Vanity Fair Academy Awards post-party. Credit: Getty Images


The casting of 'The Hunger Games': Just calm down already

Hunger-Games-cast

Perhaps you’ve been following the development of "The Hunger Games" — the upcoming film based on the book that may have been ripped off from another book about kids fighting in a giant outdoor lucha libre death match.

Actually, scratch that. Of course you’ve been following the development of "The Hunger Games." "Twilight" is winding down. What else are tweens and overheated hausfraus expected to follow — the situation in Libya?

So here’s the latest with "The Hunger Games": Casting. Not everybody likes the designated hottie lineup. For one, the franchise heroine, a brown-haired teenager named Katniss, will be channeled on screen by a blond 20-year-old named Jennifer Lawrence. The two boys who complete the Katniss love sandwich in the book also will be of age in the movie: Liam Hemsworth (21) and Josh Hutcherson (18).

To many fans, the choices seemed clueless at best, cravenly cynical at worst. After all, isn’t there a perfectly serviceable, 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld all trained and ready to report to the set? So you’d think. But then you’d think wrong.

Casting directors say that, yes, while Steinfeld may, in fact, exist, the suits at Lionsgate probably couldn’t have hired her even if they'd wanted to. In fact, they likely had to cast a trio of adults. Here’s why.

By law, child actors can work only six hours per day. They also require on-set tutors, multiple breaks and other quite reasonable allowances that can add up on a studio’s balance sheet. One kid, a la "Little Miss Sunshine," works fine money-wise. Several kids? Often cost prohibitive.

(Sure, Steinfeld was one of the leads in "True Grit." But she was the only child lead. After her six hours per day were up, Jeff Bridges or Matt Damon could mosey on in and work for another six hours.)

So why not divide it up? Well, if you cast one kid -- say, as the female lead -- it would look awkward to have her flirting -- or fighting -- with adult men. And vice versa: Imagine an adult woman having an on-screen love triangle with boys who look underage.

“We have to believe that these are all kids who are reasonably the same age,” says Bonnie Gillespie of the casting company Cricket Feet.

And there you have it. Bring on the geriatric tributes!

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Photos (from left): Liam Hemsworth. Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

Jennifer Lawrence. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Josh Hutcherson. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


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