Two things the doubters doubted: That Peeta Mellark would make it to his 20th birthday, and that Josh Hutcherson would make a convincing Peeta Mellark. Well, I guess I won’t spoil Peeta’s fate for the five of you out there who haven’t read the entire Hunger Games trilogy, but we’re so pleased that the latter came true this year. We imagine the adorable star is probably celebrating his 20th birthday today while surrounded by evil monkeys and electrocuting lakes while filming Catching Fire, so it’s up to us to fete him in a more, well, comfortable manner. We’re looking back at his 20 hottest looks — from casual awards-show looks, to fierce gun-toting on Red Dawn, to dapper red carpet suits. Take a look and tell us you don’t wish he’d come over and decorate a cake for you sometime.
[Photos: MGM, Getty Images, Lionsgate]
Let the (filming of the) Hunger Games begin! Or, well, continue! Lionsgate has released the final eleven Tributes cast in Catching Fire, and we are delighted by how many of them have worked primarily as stunt people. Based on their IMDB pages, new cast members like Jackson Spidell, Elena Sanchez and Bobby Jordan are predominately stunt actors, with extensive stunt credits to their name, on everything from The Expendables 2 to Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Watch to 21 Jump Street. It makes us rub our hands together in anticipation of some truly excellent action sequences. Having a trident hurled through your chest, Anchorman-style, perhaps? Being savaged by mutant monkeys, anyone? We’re sure their acting will be similarly excellent; you don’t snag Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amanda Plummer for your film just to blow it with a wooden tribute from District 5. This isn’t community theater here!
We really wonder how Jennifer Lawrence would have reacted if Woody Harrelson brought some of these antics to the Hunger Games set. According to the Cheers Oral History in this month’s issue of GQ, Woody was quite an interesting influence on his castmates when he joined the sitcom in 1985, when Cheers was in its fourth season, and he was an enthusiastic 24-year-old.
“I was very excited by this newfound ability to hang out with gals who probably wouldn’t have hung out with me before,” Harrelson told the magazine. “I became a party animal. You couldn’t do what I did now because of all the tweeting and Facebooking. All the sh– I did back then, I’d be hung from the rafters.”
Star Ted Danson in particular had a story that would have driven the Internet crazy, if it existed at the time. “I’ll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley [Long] and Rhea [Perlman] were carrying that week’s episode, and the guys were just, ‘Let’s play hooky,’” Danson recalled. “We’d never done anything wrong before. John [Ratzenberger] had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and [exec producer] Jimmy [Burrows] caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, ‘You want to try some mushrooms?’ I’d never had them, so I’m handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George [Wendt], and every sixty seconds or so he’d poke me and go, ‘Breathe.’ [gasp] And I’d come back to life.”
Do you find this…distracting? While Sam Claflin rocked a slender, almost feral steez for his role in Snow White And The Huntsman, we could not be happier with how his Finnick Odair look is shaping up on the Atlanta set of Catching Fire. We know there are few holdouts who would have drawn a different actor to play the Hunger Games tribute (For example, maybe Garrett Hedlund would have picked Garrett Hedlund, if he hadn’t been busy shooting On the Road.), but there are three important details at play that already affirm definitively (definitively to us, anyway) that Sam was the right pick for Finnick:
- Dat hair: you know we love Josh Hutcherson, but the new photos of his blond Peeta locks are over-the-top bleached. As for Sam’s Finnick do? Bronze-color hair, golden skin, sea-green eyes…yeah, we can see it. Well, not the eyes, obviously. We just have to trust that the costumer department didn’t go crazy with the colored contacts. Either way, Sam is working it out.
- The jackedness: Claflin is typically a slim, pale, vest-wearing kind of hottie (our preferred flavor), but set photos make it clear that he’s ready, willing and able to get appropriately huge for the role.
- Randomly blowing kisses to unseen (possibly nonexistent) cheering fans: that’s the Finnick swagger the character requires. Excuse his “natural beauty.”
Great, so…when are they shooting him in the golden fishnet toga thing? Maybe we’ll just rent a car and drive all night to find out ourselves! That’s cool, right Sam?
Who knew the 75th Hunger Games were going to be packed with slightly obscure award winners? Actually…if the Hunger Games were real, that’s exactly who would be forced to take part in them. To wit, Lionsgate announced today that Tony winner Jeffrey Wright has been cast as twitchy tribute Beetee in Catching Fire. Wright raked in a Tony for his role in 1994′s Angels in America, but more recent audiences might remember him from Quantum of Solace, Syriana, Source Code, or Cadillac Records. Meanwhile, our children’s children will remember him as that District 3 tribute in the lightbulb suit from the original Hunger Games trilogy. They…they will be the lucky ones.
In case you haven’t read the second Hunger Games book yet (why?), Wright’s Beetee will be spending most of the movie translating for his oddball companion Wiress, as portrayed by Amanda Plummer, and using his electrical knowledge to his advantage. Together the duo is known to their fellow competitors as “Nuts and Volts,” a nickname which seems harsh until you remember that they, along with Katniss and Peeta, are fighting for their lives on a homicide-based reality show. After that, it just seems rude. You know what else would be rude? Ignoring all the other Catching Fire cast members chosen so far; check them out in our gallery below. Boy, if this was the distant future, we would have been made into an Avox over that segue…
Related: Sam Claflin Is Our Finnick Odair! Snow White’s Prince Gets Coveted Catching Fire Part
After years of waiting and hoping and fantasizing that everyone from Taylor Kitsch to Robert Pattinson would take on the role of Finnick in the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, Lionsgate has at last put us out of our misery and announced who’d get the highly coveted part: Sam Claflin. After playing Prince Charming in Snow White and the Huntsman, he certainly made a number of people’s wish list to take on the role of the flashy, handsome and surprisingly lovelorn District 4 tribute. (And man, we’re glad someone’s getting a happily ever after out of SWATH.)
Does he have the kind of depth to play this unlikely revolutionary hero with a knack for spearing people with his trusty trident? Tell us what you think. Here’s a little gallery that will certainly help his case:
With a name like Cashmere, she has to be hot. Or a stripper. Or a denizen of a futuristic dytopia trained since birth in the finer points of mortal combat. Either way, Lionsgate announced today that Drop Dead Diva actress Stephanie Leigh Schlund will be portraying the extremely attractive District 1 career tribute in Catching Fire. For those of you still unfamiliar with the book (It’s called a library, people! Go get a card!), Cashmere is sister to Alan Ritchson‘s equally gorgeous Gloss and the only one willing to inform Katniss that her wedding dress is significantly less than fetch. Honestly, we’re pretty psyched to see Schlund bring a dose of Mean Girls steez to the Hunger Games series. It’ll be like if Regina George stepped in front of an axe hurled by Johanna Mason, instead of just a school bus!
In addition to Diva, Schlund has also appeared in We Are Marshall, Bad Land, and alongside Miley Cyrus in The Last Song. Hmmm, so did Stephanie’s Song costar Liam Hemsworth hook her up with an audition for Catching Fire? We’re going to assume he did. Mainly because we want Liam to be as amazing in real life as Gale is in the Hunger Games. The idea pleases us.
[Photo: Scholastic/ IMDB]
Lionsgate announced today that actor E. Roger Mitchell has joined the Catching Fire cast as District 11 tribute Chaff. So give him a hand, ladies and gentlemen! No, seriously, the man needs a hand. He refused to accept a prosthetic one from Capitol doctors after his got lopped off during the 45th Hunger Games.
While observant fans might already know Mitchell from One Tree Hill, The Crazies, The Shield or Diary of a Mad Black Woman, future fans will know him from sneaking a kiss from Katniss, then laughing about it like a maniac with Woody Harrelson. On a related note, we’re kind of into Lionsgate’s slow trickle of casting announcements. At first it bothered us, but now we realize it gives us time to get to know each of the new cast members. Plus this way we have just enough time to carve their faces onto these hand-made Hunger Games figurines we whittled! That’s how we feel today, anyway. Check in next week when we still don’t know who plays Finnick and see if we’re feeling so charitable. No…you’re right, you’re right. We’ll try to remember to look at a photo of Philip Seymour Hoffman when we get upset. Ah…there we go.
Before you start hyperventilating into a bag and unlocking your vault of Severus Snape fan fic, read that headline again. It’s Alan Ritchson who has been cast in Catching Fire, not Alan Rickman. We know; our brains played the same trick. While we would have loved to see Hans Gruber slouch around the Quarter Quells alongside Enobaria and Brutus, we’re sure Mr. Ritchson will do an equally good job. According to IMDB, the guy appeared on American Idol in 2004 and was already playing Aquaman on Smallville by 2005, so you know he’s almost certainly got the goods.
Of course, the man who will be a District 1 career tribute come next November has also played “Expired Cow” on Fred: The Show and the male lead in the upcoming Rebel Wilson comedy Super Fun Night, so who knows where his strengths lie exactly. Either way, we happily welcome the Blue Mountain State actor to the Catching Fire cast alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amanda Plummer and Lynne Cohen. We’re sure he’ll do a killer job. You know, as his character will be killing people. This is for the best. Would you really want to see *spoiler alert* Alan Rickman getting shot through the temple? There’s no right way to answer that question, is there?
[Photo: Getty Images]
It’s pretty obvious why the casting director selected Bad Teacher actor Bruno Gunn for the role of Brutus in Catching Fire. No, it’s not because he has the intensity and build of a District 2 career tribute. Right, it’s because his name looks like it could have been directly lifted from any page of the Hunger Games series. We mean, Bruno Gunn? Suzanne Collins herself couldn’t have picked out a better stage name for a man playing such a brutal competitor. We bet if she tried, she’d come up with something like Peapod Flutterby, and, really, what’s a casting director supposed to do with that?
Much like Patrick St. Esprit, who was announced as the movie’s dictatorial Romulus Thread on Monday, Gunn’s IMDB page is packed with roles prefaced with the titles “officer,” “police sergeant,” “lieutenant” and “special agent.” In fact, both St. Esprit and Gunn have appeared on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, which makes us think the show is fast becoming Hollywood’s go-to source for menacing middle-aged hunks. Just like Brutus himself, we can’t wait to see Bruno get into the arena with Meta Golding’s Enobaria, or try to form an alliance with Katniss. We’d form an alliance with Gunn, if you know what we mean. Actually, we’d probably form an alliance with any of the new Catching Fire cast members announced so far. We’re just open-minded like that!