'The Hunger Games': Woody Harrelson cast as Haymitch Abernathy; District 10 tributes named
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."
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.
-- Nardine Saad
Photo: Woody Harrelson. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times