Deadline reports that Jennifer Lawrence is (once again) the frontrunner for the highly sought after part in the upcoming film. Of course, this isn't the first time she's been mentioned. More than a week ago, Lainey Gossip tipped her as the lead contender, but it was followed by reports that a host of other names were being considered including Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Chloe Moretz, Lyndsy Fonseca, Emma Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Kaya Scodelario, Emily Browning and Shailene Woodley. Of the pack, it's said that Steinfeld, Breslin and Browning are among the final batch of contenders.
Of course, nothing is signed yet and we'd wager that the host of names cropping up suggests that Lionsgate is playing a bit of hardball as talks are set to begin next week. Of course, with an Oscar nomination under her belt, Lawrence has some negotiating power and she's certainly highly sought after too. She recently joined Oliver Stone's "Savages" and it's said that her potential commitments to "The Hunger Games" won't affect her involvement in that film. She was also being sought for "The Last Apprentice" but with "The Hunger Games" looking more and more likely, we would guess she's since moved on.
With Katniss close to being cast, the search will begin for the male lead, Peeta Mellark. Interestingly, no real names have surfaced for the role except for Alex Pettyfer who recently said he had met with producers but was waiting on a script. But we're sure more names will begin dropping very soon, and fast.
The film, set to be directed by Gary Ross, has just over a year to get in the can and completed as it's scheduled to hit theaters on March 23, 2012.