Lenny Kravitz to play Cinna in 'The Hunger Games' film
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.
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.
"Harry Potter" actor Toby Jones, who played Dobby the elf in the magical franchise, has been cast as arena announcer Claudius Templesmith. Templesmith delivers unorthodox twists and turns to Katniss and her fellow competitors and is the only outside voice she and the tributes hear while they are in the arena. Jones has also appeared in "Frost/Nixon," "Infamous" and "W."
Latarsha Rose has been cast as Portia, Cinna's counterpart and Peeta's stylist. Rose has taken small roles in various TV shows including "The Cape," "All My Children" and "Swingtown."
Newcomer Brooke Bundy joins "The Hunger Games" cast as Octavia, a surgically enhanced Capitol stylist on Katniss' prep team.
The company has yet to announce who will play the controversial President Snow, who continues to force the Hunger Games on Panem's citizens as a scare tactic to tighten the Capitol's hold on the districts.
"The Hunger Games" will hit theaters March 23, 2012.
What do you think of the casting? Will Kravitz be a believable confidant to Katniss? Who do you think should play President Snow? We want to know your opinion in comments.
-- Nardine Saad
Top photo: Lenny Kravitz. Kravitz has been cast in "The Hunger Games." Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
Bottom photo: Toby Jones as Truman Capote in "Infamous." Credit: Van Redin / Warner Bros.