The search for an actress to play the lead role of Katniss Everdeen in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Game may be over. Earlier this month we heard recent Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) were in contention, along with Abigail Breslin Zombieland and Emily Browning Sucker Punch.
Now according to Deadline Jennifer Lawrence has emerged as the front-runner, and while Lionsgate wouldn’t confirm, formal talks are expected to begin next week.
Set in post-apocalyptic America the movie, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen who must participate in a fight-to-the-death annual event called the Hunger Games. The battles are televised, and pit youths from each of the Capitol’s 12 Districts against each other.
While her character in the book in 16, Lawrence will be 21 by the time The Hunger Games hits screens. She could easily pass as 18/19, but it’s clear Lionsgate are going slightly older with the characters, so we can probably expect similar aged actors joining the film as co-stars.
Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is directing, and Lionsgate have set a March 23, 2012 release date, so filming will begin over the upcoming months.