By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 20, 2011 at 7:47AM
A couple of bits of casting news with one newcomer and one veteran both getting roles in some pretty big upcoming films.
First up, newcomer Willow Shields has landed the important role of Primrose Everdeen in "Hunger Games." She is the sister of Katniss, who fiercely protects her and volunteers herself instead of her sister to enter the deadly gladiatorial battles. Many of the "Hunger Games" fans (Hungerheads?) were hoping Elle Fanning would nab the role, but from the casting so far, it seems Gary Ross and co. are eager to keep the budget down and go with fresh faces for some of these parts. Shields joins Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Dayo Okeniyi, Amandla Stenberg, Leven Rambin and Jack Quaid in the film. The battle royale begins on March 23, 2012.
Meanwhile, in a wicked piece of casting, "Animal Kingdom" star Jacki Weaver has joined the comedy "Five Year Engagement." We couldn't think of a better gear change for the Oscar-nominated actress who terrified us as Smurf in the Aussie crime family pic. There's no word yet on her role in this one though we wager she'll play someone's unflappable mom. She joins Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Lauren Weedman and Kevin Hart in the film that follows the relationship rollercoaster of a couple across the titular pre-wedding period. Segel co-wrote the film with Nicholas Stoller (”Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), who will also be directing.