By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 19, 2011 at 2:18AM
Any fans of The Hunger Games series of books? As I'm sure you know by now, a movie adaptation based on the best-selling trilogy of YA novels, written by Suzanne Collins, is in the works, as the films cast gradually comes together.
I haven't read the books, so I'm not at all equipped to discuss content or characters; but I can tell you that, about an hour ago, Lionsgate, the studio behind the project, announced, via the official Hunger Games Facebook page, that the characters named Thresh and Rue, also known as Tributes, have been cast, and both are played by relative newcomers, Dayo Okeniyi, and Amandla Stenberg - both pictured above.
For the uninitiated (myself included), The Hunger Games franchise can be summarized as follows (courtesy of Amazon.com): "In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives."
Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence is playing Katniss, and Josh Hutcherson will be Peeta. There was some backlash over Lawrence's casting, as the character in the novel is described as having “dark hair” and “olive skin;” but Racebending has all the details on that matter if you want to catch up (HERE).
The characters Thresh and Rue are definitely African American in the book, as I've read, so the casting here probably won't cause any ruffles.
Who are these 2 characters? Thresh is described as "intimidatingly strong," and "physically imposing;" Rue is the youngest tribute in the Games, and Katniss’ arena ally.
Filming is set to begin around towards the end of May, in North Carolina, under Gary Ross' (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) direction. Apparently, there are still many roles left to cast.
Dayo's only credit, according to IMDBPro is a 2010 short film, as well as a part in an upcoming indie horror film titled Slew Hampshire; Amandla Stenberg has done some voice-over work for TV and film, and will play a young Zoe Saldana in the upcoming thriller Colombiana.
Like I said... newcomers.