At the beginning of the week Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days) joined the cast of The Hunger Games as Effie Trinket. This casting was followed by a daily bombardment of fairly unknown young actors being cast in supporting roles, but now an actor we are familiar with is circling the movie.
According to Vulture John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) will “soon be getting the offer to play Haymitch Abernathy” in the film. Abernathy is the only living person from District 12 to ever win The Hunger Games, and now serves as a mentor to district tributes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). The site mentions Reilly was also in talks for a role in Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great and Powerful as James Franco’s side-kick, but a larger role in The Hunger Games (with the potential for sequels) seemed more attractive to the actor.
In related news Lionsgate has cast Paula Malcomson (Sons of Anarchy), who will play the mother of Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) and Willow Shields (Primrose).
The Hunger Games is set in a future America which is divided into 12 poor districts that serve a wealthy Capitol territory. Once a year, each district submits a girl and boy as tributes to participate in life-or-death games.
Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is directing, and Lionsgate have set a March 23, 2012 release date, with production beginning this month.