The Great TV Recast: The Hunger Games

By Tim Surette

Mar 23, 2012

The movie event of the day week year OMG EVER is The Hunger Games, the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel about a ridiculously violent post-apocalyptic teen grudge match. It was officially released today in theaters (I've seen it 18 times since midnight) and is about to become your little sister's and lonely aunt's main obsession if it isn't already. (Easy way to tell: Are they sharpening knives and staring deep into your soul?)

But what if The Hunger Games was on television instead of filling up overpriced stadium-seating theaters? We've decided to exploit the film's popularity run with that idea and recast the project for the small screen, using some of our favorite television stars.

Katniss Everdeen played by Awkward.'s Ashley Rickards

Played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film.
Strong-willed (yet disarmingly vulnerable), Katniss is good with a bow, crafty, and kills the F out of people. So she's about as far from awkward as you can get. But I'll take Awkward.'s leading lady in the role because she's exactly the girl I envisioned while reading the book and Rickards is a rare talent who can embody a number of emotions. This time, it's Richards who will be putting people in casts. And body bags. Plus it inches us closer to our dream of seeing Jenna shoot an arrow into Sadie's forehead from 50 yards out.

Peeta Mellark played by Falling Skies' Connor Jessup

Played by Josh Hutcherson in the film.
I always imagined Peeta the Baker's boy to be a little less studly but still possess that boyish charm that makes chicks drool. Hutcherson is fine, but as the initial underdog in the game for Katniss's heart, I like someone who is a little more unassuming. And Jessup, who actually showed he can act a bit in TNT's sci-fi series, has the most important thing for the part: the hair!

Haymitch Abernathy played by Shameless's William H. Macy

Played by Woody Harrelson in the film.
Ugh. I do not like Woody in this role at all. Drunk former Hunger Games champ Haymitch is much more haggard than Harrelson. You need to be able to smell the booze on his breath from behind your $10 sack of buttered popcorn to really understand the mess that he is. Macy's been spectacular as human liquor store Frank Gallagher on the Showtime series, and by "spectacular" we mean a walking disaster. That's exactly why he'd make a perfect Haymitch.

Effie Trinket played by True Blood's Carrie Preston

Played by Elizabeth Banks in the film.
I always saw Effie, liaison for Katniss to the Games, as a bundle of misplaced energy that manifests itself in garish outfits. Preston plays one of the most nervous characters on television, and that's just a hair away from the type of persona Effie needs.

Gale Hawthorne played by Friday Night Lights' Zach Gilford

Played by Liam Hemsworth in the film.
It was difficult to find the right guy to play Katniss's true love who stayed behind, but since I'm totally Team Gale I picked a dude I'd be happy to let my non-existent sister date. And that guy is Matt Frickin' Saracen. Yeah, he's not beefcake-y enough and probably way too old, but I didn't want to choose someone from Glee.

Cinna played by Community's Jim Rash

Played by Lenny Kravitz in the film.
When I thought of Cinna, Lenny Kravitz was somewhere around number 2,535,724th on my list to play him. As the man who designs the ceremony costumes for Katniss and Peeta, who better for the role than the king of dressing up: Community's Jim Rash? I always pictured Rash as Dean-a Turner, putting flames on Katniss. I guess I don't read good.

Caesar Flickerman played by Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet

Played by Stanley Tucci in the film.
Oh come on, this is a gimme. Caesar is all about flair for the dramatic as the Games' presenter. Stonestreet's energy and ability to go well over the top make him an ideal candidate for the TV version.

Primrose Everdeen played by Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams

Played by Willow Shields in the film.
Prim, Katniss's younger sister, shares her mom's blonde locks, but that's nothing a little bleach can't fix for Maisie. My only concern is that if Maisie's Prim actually went to the Hunger Games, she'd kick everyone's ass. Arya Stark FTW!

Rue played by Jessie's Skai Jackson

Played by Amandla Stenberg in the film.
We'll give credit to the film's casting directors for Rue. Stenberg is SPOT ON to play the cute 12-year old from District 11 who Katniss befriends. But we found our own adorable actress for the part courtesy of Disney Channel's Jessie. Awww! I just want to scoop her up and put her in a sandwich!

Cato played Terra Nova's Landon Liboiron

Played by Alexander Ludwig in the film.
I don't care what he looks like in the movies or how he was described in the books. All I know is I hate him. The film's Big Bad needs to be a total D-bag, and I can't think of a better person to play him than Josh from Terra Nova. We never got to see Josh ripped apart by raptors on the TV series, so we're putting him on the TV version of Hunger Games to be [SPOILERED SPOILER] by [SPOILERS]!

Foxface played by Castle's Molly Quinn

Played by Jacqueline Emerson in the film.
The sleek, intelligent, and crafty Foxface doesn't have a huge role in the film, but Collins describes her so well that I couldn't help but picture her. So I chose the young Castle star because anyone who can go toe-to-toe with Nathan Fillion is one smart cookie.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Do you have better suggestions? Let's hear 'em!

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • naomidickens14 Jan 26, 2014

    can't wait for the next movie

  • revenge723 May 07, 2012

    don't change the actors. bad idea. hate it

  • cmcross May 03, 2012

    This is too good. Thanks. (Some of those picks are gold)

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  • hero_47 Mar 30, 2012

    And, still, everyone is white.

  • naomidickens14 Jan 26, 2014

    not everyone is white (ski jackon) was good and she was black and really why you so racist

  • hero_47 Feb 25, 2014

    I'm racist for complaining that this continues to white-wash all but one of the main characters? OK, then.

  • revenge723 May 07, 2012

    what about rue

  • jawsthecabbie Mar 30, 2012

    Years ago, Steven King published a novel called 'The Long Walk' under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman about a national yearly contest where the losing contestants (all of which are in their teens and early twenties) are killed one by one until only one remains. With the success of "the Hunger Games', is this going to be the next big movie of the year? I wonder...

  • deniserambo Mar 30, 2012

    When I was reading the books, I pictured Robbie Coltrane as Haymitch. Woody Harrelson was about the furthest thing from my mind.

  • hero_47 Mar 30, 2012

    So did I!

  • marmall Mar 28, 2012

    loved the cast of movie, except Hutcherson, recast anyone that is 2 inches taller than him...

  • Miss_Mouse88 Mar 27, 2012

    The casting for this movie was pretty well done but you guys definitely had the best picks when it comes to Macy as Haymitch and Quinn as Foxface.

    Plus there is no such thing as 'team Gale', he never stood a chance, no matter how indecisive Katniss was.

  • sunnysfunny Mar 27, 2012

    I pictured Troian Bellisario as Katniss when reading the books. Zach Gilford as Gale? Really? I love him, but... no.

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