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'The Hunger Games' filmmakers explain why they chose Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth

April 5, 2011 | 10:58 am

In a peculiar addendum to the news release issued Monday announcing Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and and Liam Hemsworth as Gale in the upcoming "The Hunger Games" film, Lionsgate has issued another release with the filmmakers' responses to the choices.

Are they defending their moves or just showering the obligatory praise? Read the comments below and judge for yourselves. (Of course, the real test will come when we get to see the finished product.)

Director Gary Ross: "When I read the book, I thought Peeta would be the hardest role to cast, and I feel so lucky that we found someone who embodies every aspect of such a complex character. I can't wait to work with Josh."

"Hunger Games" author Suzanne Collins: "I was fortunate enough to be in the room with Gary Ross when Josh came in to audition. Three lines into the read I knew he'd be fantastic. Josh totally captured Peeta's temperament, his sense of humor and his facility for language. I'm thrilled to have him aboard."

Producer Nina Jacobson: "Gale is a young man who uses words very sparingly, so the onus was on the actor we cast to capture him by showing, not telling. This was accomplished so beautifully in Suzanne's writing, and Liam was able to translate it so naturally to the screen. At the same time Gale's journey across the three books transforms him, and Liam's performance left no doubt that he would take us there."


Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson complete the Hunger Games love triangle

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Josh Hutcherson. Credit: Tyler Shields

Comments () | Archives (25)

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So very disappointed in the casting. Fans, like me, loved the books because they were about children of all different ethnic groups. The cast is just the It Twenty Somethings who are not age appropriate or even resemble the beloved characters. Liam Helmsworth? Disaster. Has Lions Gate seen the trailer for JJ Abrams Super 8? He uses children and it's wonderful. I'll pass on the movie, loved the book characters too much to see them destroyed in my mind by this casting.

The guy for Gale looks like a MAN, and the guy for Peeta looks like a BABY!
Is that what they want? A girl stuck in a love triangle between a MAN and a BABY??!?!?!!

I don't see it. Peeta should look the part, Josh may have the chops but he won't be the Peets we see in the book. Gale... Liam should be able to pass, despite the blue eyes.

What y these people

I hate the casting. I think that Liam should be Peeta. I also don't like the girl playing Katniss. They better be hoping for some really open-minded fans, because I seriously doubt they are going to like this. I know that I certainly don't.

this is so upsetting i almost started crying when i saw they would be casted as who they are... i love this series and i don't know if i can watch the movie now because it will ruin the image in my head. very disappointing:(

Personally, I am very unsure about this. This may only be because of the fact that the only movie I have ever seen Josh Hutcherson in was Bridge to Terabithia (not sure if I spelled that right). And with Liam Hemsworth, I've never even seen a movie with him in it. (Like starring in a movie with Miley Cyrus is really going to influence my decision for the better, no offense to Miley fans.) But I guess we will just have to see how the movie plays out. I really hope that Hollywood doesn't screw this movie up for me. I'd rather stick my mental movies of books if all Hollywood will do is mess this up, so let's pray that they don't. Back on the casting though, like I said, we'll just have to see it played out. Once we can get a visual still from the movie or something, it will be easier to analyze their casting choices. Best of luck to the cast and crew!

Well as someone who read the series twice I think that they picked right for peeta and gale....sooo backoff ppl...they know what their doing...as for katniss is gonna b hard to think of anyone for katniss she has to b perfect in everyones eyes or is not gonna work...goodluck with that!

I'm not happy at all with what they have so far. I've read the series from the start before it became a hit, so naturally I had every character's appearances locked in my imagination. Unfortunately, none of the cast so far fits the characters whatsoever. First of all, they are all much too old for the roles they are playing. If Harry Potter casted actors that were the same age (or at least very close to) the age of the characters they played, why can't the Hunger Games do the same? Part of the point of the Hunger Games is the exploitation of children for entertainment, and these actors certainly don't look like children. Katniss is supposed to look young and innocent, and the actress playing her certainly doesn't match that description. And one more thing: the actors casted for Peeta and Gale were mixed up. Liam is a spitting image of Peeta (older version, anyway), and Josh is almost exactly what I had imagined Gale to look like. As an avid fan, I am sad to say that the casting crew missed the mark. Hopefully the actual acting makes up for this unfortunate mishap.

I agree with both ERGH! and Samantha. I am boycotting this movie. LIke this facebook group i made if you dont like jennifer lawrence as katniss either - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jennifer-Lawrence-is-NOT-Katniss-Everdeen/100214943397426

While none of the actors cast as the main trio look how I pictured the characters in my mind, I'd much prefer a good actor, who doesn't look completely the part, then someone who has the visual down but just can't deliver.
You'd be surprised what makeup and wardrobe can do for an actor. Let's just wait and see before having a meltdown.

Josh Hutcherson has the charisma of a brick, Peeta in the book is charismatic. Josh has dark hair and dark eyes. Peeta has blonde hair and blue eyes. Josh looks like Jennifer Lawrence's BABY brother and he is super short. I can't even think of them kissing without wanting to throw up. Katniss and Peeta are the same age. Can anyone believe Josh will wrap his arm around Jennifer Lawrence protectively in the cave? Everyone is going to be laughing at that scene with his tiny frame.

This is nothing but lazy casting. There are no medium height (5'10") blonde blue-eyed good actors in the entire nation? Josh Hutcherson is really the best of the best in his age group? That's sad, just sad. I .HOPE. THIS. MOVIE. FAILS just like the Last Airbender and Percy Jackson. This book is so much better than this crappy studio and crappy director. Thanks Suzanne Collins for selling out the fans, I hope the money is worth it.

I was quite unsure about the casting when I first heard it, but oddly enough, I warmed up extremely fast and easily after a while. Maybe it was because they FINALLY casted Peeta and Gale. But, I feel disappointed that a lot of fans are judging the movie even before they've started shooting. Honestly, they were definitely NOT my first choice, but I think they'll do great! I just hope Josh and Jen have a lot of chemistry. A quick fact: they were both born in Kentucky, have dogs, are both Libras and of course, officially starring in The Hunger Games. I'm just excited that no Twilight stars are in here so far and Josh isn't even that young. Look at his most recent pictures and he does look quite like a man. Besides, Gale is 2 years older than Peeta, so Liam and Josh make a decent lead. How about we at least wait until the trailer comes out?

Can you butcher this book like the directors butchered Twilight? I think its possible and I am highly DISAPPOINTED with the casting. I think the actors/actresses cast are way to OLD!!!!! The story is partly so interesting because the characters are so young and they are put through so many hardships and they come out on top. GRRRR!!!!!!

WHAT THE CRAP. These people need to read the comments; everyone agrees,this casting SUCKS. And Gale's suppose to be hot, not dirt freaking ugly.

Okay, so we may not be happy about the decision now, but the directors know what their doing, and Im sure the movie is going to turn out amazing.

I think they could have done better there as well. I wish they had listened to the fans, and how we felt about the casting. We’re after all the ones who decide if we want to buy a movie ticket or not, and right now, I'm not that enthused for this movie anymore..

I was not sure about the casting at first because all 3 are total opposite of what they are described look wise in the books, but I think that if the writer was there and thinks that these people are right for the part... Well who knows better than her?? Hair dye and contacts can take care of the looks problem now it's just all in how they act and portray the character.

I have no problem with the casting choices. Jennifer Lawerence is great and Josh Hutcherson is a terrific actor as well. I really don't think the actor has to match the physical characteristics of the book character. What is more important, that an actor can ACT or that they have brown or black hair? Everyone complained that JL was too old but those same people were pushing for a 24 year old to play Peeta. Watch the movie and then make up your mind. Put yourself in the place of these young actors. If you just won the role of a lifetime would you want everyone insulting you. Chill out...leave the casting decisions to the professionals.

Look, no one knows how Josh and Liam are going to do in this role, considering that neither of them have ever done a role as children set on killing each other and taking down the government. But seeing how Josh has acted in other movies, it seems like he has the skills to take on the character of Peeta. Personally, I've never seen Last Song, and i'm not too sure about how Liam is going to do, but we'll just have to see. If any of you have seen Winter's Bone, you will know that she has the acting ability to play a tough girl in danger, and to play it well. I don't know how any of you could say that the movie is going to be horribl when we havn't even seen and trailers, screen shots, etc. So don't rule out the movie yet, just because of the actors. There is always a chance that it is going to be AT LEAST, a decent movie.

I'm so frickin upset. Peeta was my favorite character, and now he's ruined. 100% ruined. How on Earth is Josh Hutcherson going to be Peeta? He doesn't look anything like the Peeta I imagined :'(. Why didn't they use Alex Pettyfer or Hunter Parish????? Why?!?!?!

This is CRAZY. There is no way that the casting directors couldn't have found more pleasing actors. I totally agree with Kate; Josh Hutcherson is NOTHING like Peeta. He has dark hair, dark eyes, he's short, and doesn't resemble Peeta at all. Katniss is supposed to look young, normal, and not like a supermodel. Liam as Gale upsets me too. Liam's too old to play Gale! The whole cast throughly disappoints me, especially Josh as Peeta since he is my favorite character. I mean, I could see Alex Pettyfer or even him and Liam switching roles, but... Ugh. There's nothing I can do but promise you one thing: I will NOT be seeing this movie.

I think everyone seems more worried about how they look rather than how they are going to act the parts. I love the books and hope that the film lives up to them but I think that we shouldn't judge how good its going to be just on the appearance or age of the people they have cast - lets judge it on the acting.

i hope they decide to dye is hair blond and give him another eye color. Josh really really doesnt look like how they described peeta in the book. i feel like this may make it a big disappointment for alot of fans.

I may be one of the only ones, but I LOVE the casting. Also, I trust that the director and author know best because, well, they DO!


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