Last week we heard Winter’s Bone and X-Men: First Class actress Jennifer Lawrence was closing in on the lead role of Katniss Everdeen in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games. Now The Wrap reports Lawrence “got the offer on Tuesday, and the details were hammered out for two days until the deal closed on Wednesday”.
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. The studio plans to turn the book series into a trilogy, so after The Hunger Games we may see Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
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.
The next role to be cast is Peeta Mellark, a boy whom Katniss knows from school who is also picked to participate in the Hunger Games. Actors such as Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) and Hunter Parrish (Weeds) are all said to be circling that one, but Lionsgate couldn’t really cast Peeta until they had their Katniss. Younger actresses such as Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Abigail Breslin (Zombieland) were in contention along with Lawrence, so if one of them landed the role the studio couldn’t hire a 21 year old actor to play the love interest.
Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is directing, and Lionsgate have set a March 23, 2012 release date, so filming will begin over the upcoming months.