It's time for your customary bit of casting news/rumors for The Hunger Games. Gary Ross' adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling young adult novel has made headlines just about every day this week, and today is no exception.
The latest word on the highly-anticipated literary adaptation pegs John C. Reilly as being a prospective to appear in The Hunger Games as Haymitch Abernathy - a one-time winner of the titular competition and mentor to protagonists Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Petta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
Vulture says that Reilly will soon receive an offer from Lionsgate to play the role of Mr. Abernathy, a resident of District 12 in Hunger Games' futuristic setting of Panem (formerly, North America). The one-time deadly warrior has essentially degraded into a slovenly alcoholic at the beginning of the story - understandably so, seeing as that he is stuck pretty much sending adolescents to their doom after he trains them to compete in the gladiatorial-style title event.
While readers of the original Hunger Games novel likely have their own unique vision of what Abernathy looks like, I imagine Reilly will be more than sufficient, playing a schlubby fellow; it's not exactly a part that he's struggled to pull off in the past (see: Cedar Rapids, Chicago, etc.).
It will however, be difficult to envision Reilly as having actually been a physically fit and deadly killer in the past - more so than some of the fan-favorite candidates (whose ranks appear to includes stars ranging from Hugh Laurie to James Gandolfini) for the role. Reilly is a very talented character actor though, so I could see him pulling the act off well enough.
For those who are keeping score, here's a recap of the roles that have been filled (or look to be soon) in The Hunger Games:
- District 12 members Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson)
- District 11 members Thresh and Rue (Dayo Okeniyi and Amandla Stenberg)
- District One pair Marvel and Glimmer (Jake Quaid and Leven Rambin)
- Liam Hemsworth (brother of Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth) as Gale Hawthorne, a good friend of Katniss and (sort of) Peeta’s competition for her romantic interest.
- Katniss' younger sister, Prim (Willow Shields)
- Paula Malcomson as Katniss and Prim's mother
- Elizabeth Banks is currently in talks to play the role of Effie Trinket, escort for the District 12 “tributes.”
So there you have it. How's the film looking so far?
The Hunger Games hits theaters on March 23rd, 2012.
"The Hunger Games" fan art source: damnskippy on deviantART