The casting news for the upcoming adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young adult novel The Hunger Games has been coming at us fast and furious (no pun) as of late, to the point that it seems the studio is almost strategically releasing the names of the cast members in careful intervals, in order to keep the film on the tips of the tongues of fans and movie bloggers everywhere.
Barely hours on the heels of our last Hunger Games casting report comes news that young actress (and relative newcomer) Willow Shields has been cast as Primrose Everdeen, the younger sister of the story's protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, who will be played in the film by X-Men: First Class star, Jennifer Lawrence.
For those unfamiliar, the titular Hunger Games take place in a dystopian future where America is now "Panem," a government-controlled nation divided up into districts. Each year, a teenage boy and girl are selected from each Panem district to wage mortal combat (again, no pun) until one district is left standing. The winner is then rewarded with vital resources needed to help sustain their district for another year. The twist in the story comes when young Primrose (or "Prim" as she's known), gets selected for the games; like any protective older sister, Katniss steps in to take Prim's place in the games, thereby setting the plot in motion.
Since Shields' acting resume is so short, there's nothing really to say about whether or not she'll do the role of Prim justice. It should be noted, however, that in the latter books of Collins' trilogy, Prim does play a much more active and central role, but for the first film, her presence will be that of a supporting character, with Katniss taking center stage.
One immediate question does jump to mind: Does Shields look like she could pass for Jennifer Lawrence's sister? Look at the images in this post and judge for yourself - but me, I say she looks close enough. Of course, I haven't read the novel series and don't know how Prim is described therein, and since there was a bit of fan outcry when Lawrence was cast as Katniss (apparently the actress doesn't fit the description of her character) there could conceivably be issue taken with the fact that Shields looks like "Jennifer Lawrence," but not like "Prim." Well see soon enough, I'm sure.
For those keeping track, the confirmed cast assembled under director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) includes the following names:
- District 12 members (and the story’s protagonists) 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) is Gale Hawthorne, a good friend of Katniss and (sort of) Peeta’s competition for her romantic interest.
- Elizabeth Banks is currently in talks to play the role of Effie Trinket, escort for the District 12 “tributes.”
As stated, this casting info seems to be getting released in almost strategic fashion, so I won't be surprised if tomorrow bring news of another young face joining the film, as we ultimately fill the roles of those destined to battle it out for Panem district supremacy.
It'll surely be a fight to the finish when The Hungers Games kick off in theaters on March 23rd, 2012.