Exciting news! They’ve FINALLY burned their way through all the expendable children and are returning to the big, meaty roles! Even better, they’re aiming high when it comes to talent. I was praying they’d look for actors and actresses with serious cred, and my prayers (and those of many other HG fans, I’m sure) have been answered! Check these dudes out!
The Role: Haymitch Abernathy, arguably the most important non-teenager in the series. As the only District 12 inhabitant to win the Hunger Games (so far), Haymitch is a local celebrity. He’s also one damaged, messed-up sonofabitch and has sunk into the peaceful oblivion of rampant alcoholism. When he’s called upon to mentor Katniss and Peeta, Haymitch seems useless, but turns out to be one shrewd manipulator with some radical ideas for keeping them alive. I shan’t reveal more, but let’s just say he’s an epic asshole in all the best of ways.
The Actor: Woody Harrelson! Woody freaking Harrelson, guys! WOOOO! Seriously, this is awesome. If you haven’t seen him perform his extra-special, unique brand of crazy in Natural Born Killers, Wag the Dog, Zombieland, No Country for Old Men, 2012, and many, many other titles, then you will never be able to appreciate the bug-eyed, giant-cheekboned beauty of this man.
My Approval Rating: 9.5 out of 10. I love me some Woody Harrelson and I can easily see him as Haymitch. And his southern-fried psycho persona fits right in among the starving folk of District 12 in the former Appalachians. I’m psyched. If I have one tiny qualm, it’s that I always pictured Haymitch as a bit overweight. He should at least have a beer gut. But true method actors know how to prepare for the role, and I’m confident that Woody will make us forget all about his flawless abs in Natural Born Killers. If you haven’t noticed, I have a crush.
Who I Would Have Picked: Everyone wanted Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Laurie. I wanted neither; the former is too conventionally hunky, while the latter is too gaunt. I would have picked John C. Reilly, who’s shown an interesting acting range and fits my mental image of a formerly strong man who’s been utterly blitzkrieged by booze. Am I complaining? Not when it’s Woody hallelujahing Harrelson!
The Role: Caesar Flickerman, a major TV personality and interviewer who’s like a nightmarish mash-up of Richard Simmons, Lady Gaga, and a circus clown. Known for dying his hair, lips, and eyelids a different color each year, Flickerman is responsible for questioning and schmoozing with all the doomed Tributes while the crowd oohs and aahs. He wears a suit covered in lightbulbs and has had more plastic surgery than Heidi “Demonface” Montag. All in all, he’s a putz. But his interviews with Katniss are important to the plot, and she and her allies use them to royally mess with everyone’s emotions and deliver various FUCK YOUs to the evil Capitol.
The Actor: Stanley Tucci. Do I really have to list off his filmography, people? There is a one hundred percent chance that you have seen at least one movie with Stanley Tucci in it; he’s one of our most prolific and versatile character actors. If you’re a film snob, you’re thinking of him in Big Night; if you’re a normal person, you’re probably remembering him in The Devil Wears Prada or Julie & Julia; and if you’re completely fucking insane, you’re rhapsodizing over him in Burlesque. Ewwwww.
My Approval Rating: 9 out of 10. Everyone loves Stanley Tucci, right? I know I do; I have never not been entertained by one of his performances. He seems a rather random choice for the flashy, fey Caesar Flickerman, but then, I’m pretty sure Tucci can play any damn role he wants. He could put on a long dark wig and play Katniss, and he’d do just fine. Since Flickerman hides his true self behind makeup and surgery, we need a character actor who can hide himself behind Flickerman. And Tucci can. Oh, yes, he can.
Who I Would Have Picked: As with Woody Harrelson, I am quite satisfied and wouldn’t trade Tucci for anyone. But if it couldn’t be him, I would go with Dan Aykroyd. Annoying yet endearing? Check! Hyper and larger-than-life? Check! An older guy trying to look younger? Well, maybe not, but he could play one. Also, imagine Aykroyd’s Woody Woodpecker hair died power blue. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Though I’m pretty excited to see what Tucci’s toupee will look like.
The Wall of Doomed Children 3:
Still no Cato and Clove, but we finally have the complete list of non-important Tributes, many of whom will be horribly murdered by Cato and Clove! So that's something!
Take a deep breath, and...Samuel Tan and Mackenzie Lintz are District Eight! Annie Thurman and Imanol Yepez-Frias are District Nine! Jeremy Marinas is the District Ten boy (somewhat notable for having a gimpy foot) while Dakota Hood is his female counterpart! Pant pant pant! Well, there you have it...all the boys and girls who will be dying for the televised enjoyment of millions of proud Americans! The future, ladies and gentlemen! Won’t it be all sunshine and rainbow-scented puppies! So, all in all, we’ve got a cool batch of kids, multi-ethnic and photogenic and versed in cool fight choreography. Congrats to all the Tributes on being cast in The Hunger Games!
On a final note, Wes Bentley (American Beauty) has been cast as Seneca Crane, the head gamemaker who designs the Hunger Games and all its hazards. I’m not doing a full feature on this because, honestly, it’s not that big a role. We hear about Crane and Katniss makes him shit his pants at one point, but he doesn’t really do much. He’s only in like one scene, I think. And...well, let’s just say you won’t be seeing him in the sequels. So I never really thought about the casting of Crane. Still, congrats to Bentley, who is rather attractive.
PS: Holy hell, I think they just cast Cato and Clove while I was typing this! And...HOLY BALLS, look who they picked to play them! WHOA! TO BE CONTINUED!!!
Sorry, couldn’t resist.