Finally, the wait for fangirls (and boys) everywhere is over. Lionsgate announced today that Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are officially cast -- after being outed as frontrunners last week -- as Peeta and Gale, respectively, in the company's huge tentpole adaptation "The Hunger Games." The boys join female lead Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss; Hutcherson plays Lawrence's love interest when she's placed in an arena to fight for her life, while Hemsworth is Lawrence's best friend waiting at home. The decision comes at the end of a long wait for casting choices. Other candidates for the parts included Hunter Parrish of "Weeds" and Lucas Till of the upcoming "X-Men: First Class" for Peeta and Disney star Drew Roy for Gale.
Hutcherson hit the indie scene this last summer with a small role in "The Kids are All Right." We saw his newest film "Detention" at SXSW, and he'll be seen next in the remake of "Red Dawn." He was incredibly vocal about his desire to be Peeta in "The Hunger Games," so it's great that they got someone passionate about the role. Hemsworth is even less well-known, having starred most recently in the awful Miley Cyrus vehicle "The Last Song." Often confused with his brother Chris Hemsworth aka Thor, the younger Hemsworth will have a chance to prove himself as Gale.
The cast is shaping up to be a good one for a teen love triangle pic. "The Hunger Games" should go into production soon with a release date of March 23, 2012. [EW]