Last month, nearly 1,000 redblog readers voted Yay, Nay, or Maybe on the casting of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth as Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in The Hunger Games: 44% said Maybe, 29% said Nay, and 27% said Yay. Hmm, it’s not sounding like fans of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic trilogy are too pleased with the lead threesome.
Over the last five weeks, the other major roles — save two — have been filled. By and large, the “tributes” (girl and boy teams who must fight to the death in a televised arena by order of the evil Capitol) are all relative unknowns, which I think was a wise strategy. In the higher profile adult roles, we have Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Katniss and Peeta’s somewhat shallow and perpetually pink-haired Capitol escort; Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, a likable TV anchor-of-sorts who conducts sympathy-swaying interviews with all of the tributes before the Games begin; and American Beauty‘s Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, the mastermind behind the Games’ twisted and deadly secrets. And yesterday word came that Woody Harrelson had landed the part of Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss and Peeta’s oft-drunk, always-grouchy mentor, who had emerged the winner of the Games decades earlier.
I have to admit that Woody was not even on my radar as a possible choice for Haymitch. I’d been perusing some Hunger Games fan sites and actually agreed with this post — the shot below of Brendan Gleesan (who Harry Potter fans will recognize as Mad-Eye Moody) is how I had always pictured Haymitch.
I could have also seen John C. Reilly in the role, but never really understood all the fan fervor around Robert Downey Jr. or House‘s Hugh Laurie. Just because someone was messed up in real life or plays a messed-up guy on TV doesn’t mean he should portray every grumbly inebriate, people!
Harrelson, however, is going to be great as Haymitch, I can just feel it. He’s got the range necessary for the various shades of transformation Haymitch undergoes over the course of the trilogy, he can play sarcastic-but-oddly-charming-and-secretly-brilliant, and if he packs on some pounds and grows out what’s left of his hair a bit he can definitely do the whole Frumpy Drunk Who Used to Be Kind of a Stud thing.
Now I want to hear what you think of Woody as Haymitch — so cast your vote in the poll below, and then in the comments tell me who you think should be cast in the two remaining major adult roles: President Snow (evil head of the Capitol) and Cinna (Katniss’ faaaab-u-lous and fiercely loyal stylist).
Redbox movies from the cast of The Hunger Games!
- Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, Defendor, 2012, Seven Pounds, and The Messenger
- Stanley Tucci in Burlesque and Easy A
- Elizabeth Banks in The Next Three Days, on DVD and Blu-ray
- Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, on DVD and Blu-ray
- Josh Hutcherson in The Kids are All Right
- Liam Hemsworth in The Last Song, on DVD and Blu-ray