Now that Jennifer Lawrence has officially accepted the lead role of Katniss Everdeen in Lionsgate's adaptation of the hit young adult series "The Hunger Games," that can only mean that other casting announcements are not far behind.
THR reports that director Gary Ross and producers have begun testing males with Jennifer Lawrence for both Peeta, her companion in the Games, and Gale, her best friend at home. Peeta reveals his lifelong love for Katniss right before they are both to go into the Hunger Games, an arena where they must fight to the death and only one can win. Gale stays behind to take care of her family, but has also taught her the important hunting skills that she'll need to survive.
Testing for Peeta began yesterday with Josh Hutcherson, Alexander Ludwig, Evan Peters, Hunter Parrish and Lucas Till among those in contention. Hutcherson and Till were two of the names on our casting wishlist for Peeta, and Parrish, popular from the television show "Weeds," has long been rumored to be a favorite. Ludwig and Peters are less well-known. Ludwig starred in 2009's "Escape to Witch Mountain" and Peters played Aaron Johnson's best friend in "Kick-Ass." We're just happy not to see Alex Pettyfer's name in there anywhere.
For Gale, the list is long, including Liam Hemsworth, David Henrie, Robbie Amell and Drew Roy. Roy was also on our list for Gale, but the other three are a little more out of right field. Hemsworth is probably best known for his turn on the Aussie series "Neighbours" while Henrie and Amell have barely left Disney and Nickelodeon. Roy, on the other hand, has already made his ascent out of the Disney hole by starring on ABC Family shows like "Greek" and is soon to be on TBS's new sci-fi series "Falling Skies." We think Roy is the one to watch, especially if Ross doesn't want either of the male leads to outshine Lawrence in popularity amongst the viewers.
Lionsgate surprisingly has picked a good batch to work from. None of these actors, maybe with the exception of Hemsworth and soon-to-be-big Till (he stars in "X-Men: First Class" this summer), have huge followings so we're glad to see they're going for actors that are relatively unknown and on the rise. Hopefully, they'll be able to keep up with Lawrence's performance when the "Hunger Games" hits on March 23rd, 2012.