By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 22, 2011 at 9:33AM
UPDATE: Donald Sutherland joins the cast as President Snow.
EARLIER: Toby Jones joins the cast to play the Hunger Games' narrator/host. More below:
Woody Harrelson will play Haymitch Abernathy - former games champ and mentor to Katniss.
Stanley Tucci will play Caesar Flickerm; Wes Bentley (American Beauty) will play Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker of the 74th Hunger Games, in which Katniss Everdeen is forced to compete...
Willow Shields will play her sister, Primrose, Paula Malcomson wil play the two sisters' mother. Elizabeth Banks has been cast as Effie Trinket. Lionsgate describes her character, "a perennially perky handler assigned by the Capitol to escort and advise tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Melark as they prepare for the Hunger Games." Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz have reportedly been offered roles in the film. Harrelson would play "Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, of the 74th Hunger Games," writes Vulture. Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) could handle any number of roles in his sleep but I'd guess they're offering him stylist Cinna, although I imagined that character much younger.
Latest word is that John C. Reilly has not been offered the role of drunken mentor Haymitch Abernathy, the only man from District 12 to ever win the games. Having read the first book, he'd be perfect casting (although in the book he's fat). So is Lawrence: she's tough as nails, wary, dangerous, yet vulnerable and capable of love. She can be androgynous and sexy, athletic and defiant. No prob. The book is young adult, like the Twilight series, but much better-written and cinematic, packed with suspense, action and romance. Hunger Games ends on such a cliffhanger that I'll have to read the next one. Props to producer Nina Jacobson for scooping this up. It will be a huge hit for Lionsgate.
Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) is to play Katniss's Hunger Games partner from District 12, baker's son Peeta Mellark, while Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) is her longtime hunting buddy Gale Hawthorne. Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi will play the Games pair Rue and Thresh, while contestants Glimmer and Marvel will be played by Leven Rambin and Jack Quaid, respectively.
Of Malcomson's role, Jacobson says:
"[she] has come back from the depths of despair. Her husband has been killed, resources are scarce and she must live in fear that either one of her daughters could be forced to participate in the Hunger Games. Needless to say, we needed an actress with some gravitas – someone who could really transport herself, and audiences, to a place as tough as District 12. Paula has appeared in some really top notch TV shows that are both extremely gritty and extremely imaginative, and she was the perfect choice for this role.”
Malcomson's recent TV credits include Deadwood (she's fabulous as Trixie, pictured below), Caprica and Sons of Anarchy. She also appeared in films The Green Mile, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Tombstone.
Lionsgate is set to release The Hunger Games March 23, 2012. We dig into more details on the franchise.