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“Hunger Games” adds Hutcherson, Hemsworth

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Josh Hutcherson let it slip while talking to press at the South By Southwest Film Festival. He was in Austin promoting a horror-comedy hybrid called “Detention,” but he joked that he’d love to join “The Hunger Games,” the planned adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling books.

Today, no one is laughing.

Hutcherson, of “The Kids Are All Right,” and “The Last Song” star Liam Hemsworth have joined Lionsgate’s “Games” in the roles of Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne, respectively. They’ll co-star alongside Jennifer Lawrence. The Oscar nominee has been cast as heroine Katniss Everdeen.

From the release (via ComingSoon):

Peeta accompanies heroine Katniss Everdeen into the 74th annual Hunger Games as the male tribute chosen from their native District 12, the most remote and marginalized district of all the subjugated districts of Panem. At the outset of the Games, Peeta publicly confesses his longtime feelings for Katniss, setting up one of the most fascinating fictional rapports of all time with his supposed arena rival.

Though Katniss and Gale have never had a romantic relationship, they share a transcendent bond, often of few words. When Katniss volunteers to participate in the 74th Annual Hunger Games in her younger sister’s stead, they both presume that bond will carry her far through the horrors she will face in the arena, and they each silently hope they’ll be reunited in safety on the other side of the ordeal.

The Hunger Games will be directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Collins’ best-selling novel, which has over 3 million copies in print in the United States alone, is the first in a trilogy of science fiction/action novels which have developed a global following.

The Hunger Games chronicles a dystopic Capitol which requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl, forced to participate in the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death live televised event. Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery to participate and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home. The “Hunger Games” novel has been on the New York Times best seller list for over 100 consecutive weeks. Foreign rights for the book, published by Scholastic have been sold in 41 countries.

Lionsgate will release The Hunger Games on March 23, 2012..

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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