The Great TV Recast: The Hunger Games

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 TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (52)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
can't wait for the next movie
Reply
Flag
don't change the actors. bad idea. hate it
1
Reply
Flag
This is too good. Thanks. (Some of those picks are gold)
1
Reply
Flag
Life is lonely and sometimes even boring. You may need a fresh thing

to excite your mind Cougarchats,C om is a popular cougar dating

site that makes your online dating journey fun and exciting. The cougars

and young men at Cougarchats,C om are seeking for friendship, dates, romance and even marriage.

Reply
Flag
And, still, everyone is white.
2
Reply
Flag
not everyone is white (ski jackon) was good and she was black and really why you so racist
Reply
Flag
I'm racist for complaining that this continues to white-wash all but one of the main characters? OK, then.
Reply
Flag
what about rue
Reply
Flag
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...
Reply
Flag
When I was reading the books, I pictured Robbie Coltrane as Haymitch. Woody Harrelson was about the furthest thing from my mind.
1
Reply
Flag
So did I!
1
Reply
Flag
loved the cast of movie, except Hutcherson, recast anyone that is 2 inches taller than him...
Reply
Flag
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.
Reply
Flag
I pictured Troian Bellisario as Katniss when reading the books. Zach Gilford as Gale? Really? I love him, but... no.
Reply
Flag
no no.....gale is not her true love....
2
Reply
Flag
It's funny because Woody Harrelson was supposed to play Frank Gallagher in Shameless until he did Zombieland and got popular again and dropped out.

Don't agree with any of these, there were some things I wished had been different in the film but the casting was spot-on for everyone. And saying Hutcherson is 'fine' as Peeta is ridiculous. Have you SEEN the film? He IS Peeta.
Reply
Flag
Caught the movie here today and I totally loved it !
Reply
Flag
I don't get it. What's the big deal with this movie?
Reply
Flag
well pretty much they wrote a book with the same idea as that movie with stone cold steve austin "the condemned" that took a bunch of convicts and threw them on an island and said last one standing wins..the difference with this is its teenagers or something....so the deal with this movie is it was a book that a bunch of fan boys have hyped up to be the next big thing (I'm not saying its not as I have not read it nor seen it.. and after my pre-judgement of saying harry potter is gay only recently to fall in love with the whole series.. ive learned to shut my mouth) but regardless of how good or bad the movie is the hype its gotten is ridiculous
Reply
Flag
Wow, just no. Maybe even read a one paragraph plot summary online before commenting on anything. You obviously just took a guess at what the movie was about and you failed.



And you really shouldn't get into the habit of writing something off the moment it gets hype or recognition, you will miss out on some pretty great things.
Reply
Flag
you should do the same as with Harry Potter and read the books before you judge them they are really good
Reply
Flag
Thanks. This hype seems to be quite silly. I don't know how Tim Surette would go for it.



To me Steve Austin is the Six-Million-Dollar Man, from the old TV show. I don't know Harry Potter very well, but I've never seen any indication of him being gay, even though I'm not sure they ever showed him with a girlfriend.
Reply
Flag
Harry's romances (yes, plural) form the backstory of several of the novels, surging to the forefront only a couple times, most significantly in the very ending, when he's married and sending his kids to Hogwart's.
Reply
Flag
Well, I wasn't the one questioning Mr.Potter's sexuality...
Flag
That was fun. lol. The movie did such a great job with the cast.
Reply
Flag
Most of the casting was excellent for the film. Seriously, good job.



But when I was reading the book, I had a little different view. In my mind's eye theater Peeta was played by Alexander Carpenter (look him up on youtube) who sings HG related songs and plays a lot of stuff from Peeta's PoV. Gale was played by Chris Pine. Cinna looked like a gentler version of Wes Bentley, but I have no actor to place there. Snow was Christopher Walken.



Finally Haymitch. I can't name who played him in my mind. some character actor who is great at grumpy drunks. When I heard Woody Harelson was playing him I was unimpressed... COLOR ME IMPRESSED. From this moment forward, Haymitch IS Woody Harelson.
Reply
Flag
Molly Quinn would have made an awesome Foxface. I agree with that.



I was surprised at Woody Harrelson playing Haymitch...oddly enough I'd have envisioned him as Cinna before Haymitch but William H. Macy would have been perfect.



Caesar while Stonestreet is a gem..I would have considered someone to his immediate left...blanking but the guy who plays Phil on Modern Family, he's quirky, a bit garish, but likeable.
Reply
Flag
Those were fun cast choices, and some of them spot on! I really enjoyed the movie, and I love the books. I did write a review for the movie on my blog (http://icemanjc86.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/the-hunger-games/), but who knows...someday maybe we will have a TV series with your cast picks, Tim.



However, TV would ruin this franchise.
Reply
Flag
Being a fan of the books, i can honestly say that the film was very well cast.

Having seen the film earlier today though, i left feeling a little bit cheated. (if u haven't seen the film or read the books look away now!) because even though Suzanne Collins was apparently involved in the films production, i couldn't really feel a sense of what made the book so good.

I can't believe what i'm about to say but it needed more of the Twilight factor (what this means is basically more teen angst and o.t.t. emotional drama) because the emotional rollercoaster Katniss portrays in the book is actually understandable and helps carry it in the same way that Katniss is the survivor but it means nothing without living life the way Peeta does.
Reply
Flag
No. Just no.

I loved the movie BECAUSE it appealed to its fan base without degrading itself by having a "twilight factor." Jennifer Lawrence was perfect (maybe a bit old for the role, but who cares?) as Katniss. She captured Katniss' emotional turmoil so subtly, and we didn't even have to have that annoying voiceover monologue that Kristen/Bella always seems to have every movie.

Otherwise, I really liked the casting choices for THG. I don't think this should be adapted into a TV series though. I have this horrible feeling that the TV network execs will try to sugar coat the series or skew it into something disastrous (think reverse Avatar: The Last Airbender).
Reply
Flag
Nothing, but nothing on this planet needs "more of the Twilight factor". Ewwww. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Reply
Flag
Well said. The Hunger Games is not and will NEVER be like Twilight. We don't need more Twilight. With more Twilight means the end of humanity...
Reply
Flag
I think that most of the choices are better than of the producers, with the exceptions

of Woody Harrelson and both the choices (yours and the producers) of Rue.
Reply
Flag
That's funny; while reading the books, I always pictured Katniss as Ashley Rickards. And Zach Roerig for Peeta.
Reply
Flag
Josh from Terra Nova made me laugh out loud. I'm going to see the movie tomorrow, by the way, but I don't disapprove of the casting (pictures) that actually made the movie. However, by sight alone, I could agree with most of your picks as well.

The Peeta-issue is difficult to me, because I in no way relate to the boy in the books. He just seems like a... well. I like men more alpha-male, I guess ;) So I definitely would like seeing him look more strongly and less dazed in the movie to adjust that view.
Reply
Flag
I only agree with Maisie Williams, the rest I disagree with IMO ,but in all reality I could careless about the Hunger Games, not on my watch list
Reply
Flag
I agree with everything except Jim Rash. I think you misread the character of Cinna. And for the record, I think Lenny does a fantastic job.
Reply
Flag
I've read all 3 books and I think the casting for the movie is as close to perfect as you can get.



BUT



I could definitely get down with Terra Nova's Landon Liboiron playing Cato. I always held out hope he would get eviscerated by a Dinosaur, but seeing him (SPOILER ALERT!) get ripped apart by Wolf-like mutations would be just as satisfying.
Reply
Flag
We clearly didn't read the same book, Tim. Cinna is understated in everything he does. And Haymitch comes through every time that matters, he's not just a walking disaster
Reply
Flag
Yeah, it's kind of like he only read half of the first book and said: "Well, this is all the information I need to write a ridiculously exploitative article for TV.com".
1
Reply
Flag
In general, when a book is made into a movie, reading the book that was made into the movie IS enough.
Reply
Flag
Eric Stonestreet may be good at acting over the top, but I don't think anybody from the Capitol would be as big as he is. They're obsessed with their appearance, and having extra weight wouldn't be very Capitol-like.
1
Reply
Flag
"We've decided to exploit the film's popularity"



Making a joke about it doesn't make it better.
Reply
Flag
Come on. Report on something that actually matters.
Reply
Flag
Chillax. This was funny (if you have a sense of humor). If this article wasn't for you, just move on.
Reply
Flag
I'd say Josh Holloway (Sawyer from Lost) would make a great Haymitch. But for some reason, while I was reading the books I pictured Danny DeVito.
Reply
Flag
Tim, who didn't you invite me?



Yeah, I don't think the film cast can be beat.
Reply
Flag
Staff
QB1.....
Reply
Flag
I am so sad...here the Hunger games comes out on the 1st of May (dubbed in Italian...awful!) Maybe I will just but a ticket for the States...

By the way, Josh is perfect!!!!!!
Reply
Flag
Sorry. I think I'll stick with the film cast. Noone could have played Katniss better. Woody was perfect as Haymitch. You don't really see the true extent of Haymitch's decay until book 2 and Woody did a great job with him. Elizabeth Banks was perfect as Effie. Your Cinna is bordering on offensive and looks nothing like how he is described in the books. As for Rue, it's not just cute, you need her quiet demeanor aswell. I'm not even gonna touch Cato. Hunger Games movie cast FTW
Reply
Flag
When I heard they were making this into a movie, the only cast member I was interested in predicting was Haymitch, and I thought of two people only: William H. Macy (spot on right there) or Sam Elliott (just think of him as a former fighter/drunkard).
Reply
Flag
Staff
Yeah, I like those. I immediately thought of John C. Reilly.
1
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook