Let the Games begin! Fans and enthusiasts of “The Hunger Games” can officially start counting down to when the first book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy will come to life on the big screen. Lionsgate has revealed to EW that “The Hunger Games” will be released in just over a year on March 23, 2012. Director Gary Ross has stated that he aims for the film’s production to commence this spring. Of course, Ross won’t be able to start filming until he has a cast, but fear not for that is a process that is also well on its way. Speakeasy has confirmed that casting director Debra Zane has been hired for task of finding the perfect actors and actresses to portray the roles in this post-apocalyptic tale. Having recently worked on “The Twilight Saga’s Breaking Dawn,” Zane is no stranger to book-to-film adaptations in the YA genre. She has also previously worked with Ross on “Seabiscuit” and “Pleasantville.”
Although casting speculation and polls determining fan favorites have been running rampantly in the past few months, Lionsgate has stated that nobody has yet to audition for any of the roles, however scripts have already been handed out to actresses including Nikita’s Lyndsy Fonseca and apparently Skins’ Kaya Scodelario (who’s rep later denied this claim). For the most part, casting speculation has largely focused on who will play the film’s heroine Katniss Everdeen, but earlier this week, MTV briefly interviewed Liam Hemsworth (“The Last Song”, pictured right) giving fans the first hint at a potential male lead. Hemsworth stated that he has read thescript, calling it “a really, really cool story,” and that he could possibly see himself playing the role of Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ partner in the Games.
The characters of both Katniss and Peeta are aged at sixteen in the first installment, but it is tricky to determine whether or not the actress and actor cast in these roles will actually be in their mid-teens or perhaps older. True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld and Kick-Ass’ Chloë Moretz, are two rising stars at ages 14 and 13 (respectively) who have expressed interest in the role of Katniss, whereas Fonseca and Hemsworth, both actually confirmed to have received the scripts, are 23 and 21, respectively. Nevertheless, it seems that the playing fields are totally open. Ross, along with the film’s producer Nina Jacobson, have both expressed that they’re completely open to an “unknown” in the lead roles.
With the release date set and a casting director hired, all the fans can do now is wait.