If you’ve been keeping track with our news on The Hunger Games, the young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins, you know it’s getting the Hollywood treatment. Yesterday we reported that veteran actor Stanley Tucci has been cast as Caesar Flickerman, the charismatic television host of the Hunger Games. Now, rumors have been flying for another high-profile character. Originally rumored to be played by John C. Reilly, the role of Haymitch is now safely in the hands of Woody Harreslon.
Get your bows ready
For those that haven’t been a reader of the Hunger games, Haymitch is the former winner of Hunger Games, now a drunken trainer of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) for the televised battle to the death. This is fantastic news as Woody has a pretty decent body of work in the last few years starring in films like Semi-Pro, Defendor and his role as Zombie ass kicker Tallahassee in 2009’s Zombieland. A pivotal character is the book sequels Catching Fire and Mocking Jay there couldn’t have been a better choice to fill the teacher-student role of Haymitch.
As much as Reilly was a good choice to play Haymitch, Harrelson is a perfect choice. The right choice. Not only do we know he can play a functioning drunk, as we’ve seen in films like Kingpin, he can also play an aging bad-ass, like in Zombieland or a straight shooting serious type, like in The Messenger. He, unlike Reilly, has the ability to come off as incredibly smart while simultaneously seeming like a mess. And that’s the essence of Haymitch Abernathy.
On an pseudo-related side note, while I love this casting, I saw The Beaver last night and am totally not sold on Lawrence as Katniss. She’s an amazing actress, no doubt, but she’s simply too developed, too pretty and too old to play the role. She’ll be fine, but I just think she’s wrong. She might have dirtied herself up in Winter’s Bone but, since then, her sex appeal has increased ten fold. Maybe Harrelson will knock her down a peg.
Now that another important role has been filled that leaves the doors open for spots as President Snow, the villain of the entire series and Cinna, Katniss’s designer and trusted ally. Any bets on how will filled these just as, if not more, important roles in Hunger Games?
Hunger Games: The Games consists of two children aged 12–18 from each district, one boy and one girl, who are chosen by lottery to compete in a taped death tournament, which is mandatory viewing for the whole country. While in general, the District citizens reluctantly watch them and despise them, the Capitol citizens see it as entertainment. The film will be directed by Gary Ross and will have a budget of $60 million with an anticipated release date of March 23, 2012.