The problem with handicapping The Cast of the Hunger Games vs. the characters in the book is that coming into the book, I already knew most of the people cast for the movie, so I couldn’t not imagine them in those roles. I mean I saw the trailer dozens of times before I read the book so I saw Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Malark coming. But still I think there’s something to be gained in figuring out how close or far the movie came to getting these characters right, at least as far as I'm concerned.
I’ll be using the IMDB casting information as reference, just an FYI.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen – I sort of remember the chatter being that Abigail Bresilin was up for the part and that, to my mind, would’ve been a complete miscast. Other than X-Men: First Class, I haven’t really seen Jennifer Lawrence in anything. Yes I’m sorry I missed Winter’s Bone. I promise I’ll watch it on cable. Get off my back. But the character needed a hardness and an edge that I think Lawrence has. It’s the way she is in that trailer that proves to me that she can nail the character pretty solidly. Casting Ranking A-
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark – Here’s the thing. Peeta goes through Hell ya’ll. I mean through the first book all the way through the third book, they torture that character like nobody's business. I have been following Josh Hutcherson’s career since Little Manhattan and Zathura. And yes, his career has had a few missteps and pitfalls (Yes I consider Cirque Du Freak a misstep. Sue me.) but he’s still interesting to watch. I am not entirely comfortable with that tiny kid I knew getting his first kiss in Little Manhattan going through that kind of torture. He was all little and adorable and he can’t be all grown up and forced to go through torturous things that Peeta went through in the books. Odd reasoning on my part? Sure. But that’s the reason I’m not entirely sold in this casting choice. Casting Ranking B+
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket – I… don’t get it. I just don’t. I mean I like Elizabeth Banks fine. I think she’s a great actress, but I just don’t completely see her in this role. Effie is so mannered in such a way that Elizabeth Banks is going to have to shoot for the moon to make the character effective and I just don’t know if she’s got it in her. She looks fine in the trailer but I'm still not buying what she's selling. I’m happy to be proven wrong and she seems to hit the right notes in the trailer, but I still don’t trust it. Casting Ranking B-
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne – This is another case of the casting being done for so long and the trailer being so engrained in my subconscious that I really can’t see any one else in the role. He’s strong and hardy in the way that I imagine Gale to be. And even though the only thing I’ve seen him in is The Last Song and I feel OWED by somebody for having spent two hours on that piece of crap (one of these days I’ll write a proper rant about that POS, but today is not that day) he was not the real problem and was fine in the movie. I think he could really shine in this role. We’ll see. Casting Ranking A
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy – Again, once I saw the trailer and some of the stills from the movie, Woody Harrelson made complete sense to me for the role. There’s a few difficult scenes in the books as a whole that I’m not completely convinced he can carry, but I’m more than willing to see if he can. Maybe if I can see Rampart before then that will have me completely convinced. We’ll have to see. Casting Ranking A
Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane – Did I miss something or was there not actually a Seneca Crane mentioned by name in the first book? Because I could’ve sworn the first I heard of him is once he was killed off in the second book. Which, if I’m correct and not totally off my rocker, means the movie created a character just for Wes Bentley, which I’m not complaining about. Hmmmm, let’s see, create a character for the sole purpose of having Wes Bentley in a movie or not right the character and not have Wes Bentley in it at all? I will always, always bet on the former, period. I mean It’s mother-effing Wes Bentley. Since when is he a bad idea? Looking over his C.V., I realize I’m missing a lot of his movies, which I will try and remedy, but he always makes an impression. I mean P2 come on! And I kinda want to see Gone just to confirm my suspicions that he’s the bad guy, because he makes a great bad guy! Casting Ranking A+ (It’s Wes Bentley! I mean come on!).
Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen – Judging by the trailer I think this girl is decently cast and don’t have much to say on the choice. I think she’ll do great. Casting Ranking A
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman – Saw the trailer, saw him coming. Think he’s great for the role. The only other thing I have to add is for some reason Caesar Flickerman and Gamesmaster Plutarch kind of melded into the same person in the books for me, so I see him in that role too, and since I’m not sure who is cast as Plutarch, I keep thinking he might show up in the other movies at both characters. I know. Weird. Casting Ranking. A-
Donald Sutherland and President Snow – Let’s face facts shall we, Donald Sutherland is always the right answer. Always. I’d watch the man read a phone book, I’d watch him shovel shit for two hours straight, I’ve listened to those commercials he narrates simply because he’s narrating them. And, here comes the real shocker, I watched both seasons of Dirty Sexy Money and he was fabulous in that series even if that was a bit of turd pile. (See my comment about him shoveling shit.) And based on some of the stuff I’ve read about him and the role, I think he’ll knock it out of the park. He’s studious about the part but I don’t think it’ll come off too studied. He’s awesome and I’m thrilled at the choice. Casting Ranking A++++++
Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith – Nailed it. He’s what I was thinking of for the part. Casting Ranking A
Lenny Kravitz as Cinna – I’ve heard that people thought he was a terrible choice for the role, but I think he’s kind of perfect. The book makes the character out to be someone as someone who is always thinking, that can see the machinations behind the simplest and tiniest of choices, but hides all of that under clothes and a rock star persona and let’s face it. Lenny is that person, period. I think its an imaginative choice that makes a ton of sense. Casting Ranking A-