'The Hunger Games': Now that we have the main three, who should play Haymitch, Effie, and Prim?

Hunger-Games-casting

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With Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth joining Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games movie adaptation, all three vertices are now in place. To those who haven’t yet read Hunger Games (what are you waiting for, the movie?), Katniss, Peeta, and Gale are the series’ equivalent of Andie, Blane, and Duckie, except, you know, fighting other teenagers to the death instead of going to prom. But just because they are at the center of the story doesn’t mean they’re the only characters fans are interested in casting. (Actually, one of the best aspects of Suzanne Collins’ books is that there is so much going on beyond the Team This and Team That mooning and fawning.)

Moving onto the next tier of roles, we have Haymitch, Effie, and Prim — three prime spots that still need to be filled. Haymitch is Katniss and Peeta’s mentor, a former tribute who drinks like an alcoholic fish. I’m guessing they’re going to go for a respectable actor who can simultaneously play inebriated and lovable, maybe someone along the lines of Robert Downey Jr., Jeffrey Dean Morgan, or Hugh Laurie. I’m not sure whether RDJ has the time to join up with yet another franchise, but after his drink-tastic turn in Zodiac (not to mention having his own personal travails to draw from), it’s hard to argue he wouldn’t be pretty great for the role.

Effie is just about the only character that fans seem to be nearly unanimous about, and I totally get how Kristin Chenoweth would be perfect as the bubbly, totally Capitol escort, but for some reason I keep seeing fellow blonde Elizabeth Banks in my mind’s eye. It might be because I tend to view Effie as more of an antagonist than some readers. Sure, she helps out once in a while, but at her heart, she’s self-centered, callous, and actively engaged in a vast mechanism designed to kill innocent people. It’s not even that she’s just following orders, but that she’s following them so gleefully. Chenoweth has the glee part down, but I don’t quite see that undercurrent of malice in her. Is it just me? Eh, probably. Finally there’s Prim, Katniss’ sister. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up being the consolation prize for one of the younger actresses who didn’t get to play the Girl on Fire, or perhaps even given to someone like Elle Fanning. (EW’s Karen Valby does, however, have another young promising actress in mind: Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka, a.k.a. Sally Draper.)

What do you good folks think? Now that we have our three leads, who should be tapped to fill out the cast? Tell us who should play these three, and why I’m totally wrong about Chenoweth.

Read more:
‘Hunger Games’: Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross talk casting Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
‘Hunger Games’ casts Peeta and Gale: Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth nab the roles
Josh Hutcherson wants to play ‘Hunger Games’
‘Hunger Games’: Now that Katniss is cast, who should play Peeta?
‘Hunger Games’: Is Jennifer Lawrence the Katniss of your dreams?
‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross talks about ‘the easiest casting decision of my life’ — EXCLUSIVE
Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss in ‘The Hunger Games’
‘Hunger Games’ exclusive: What the movie will be rated, and how it feels to be called the next ‘Twilight’

Comments (368 total) Add your comment
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  • Hi

    Hugh Laurie should be haymitch because Downey is already in iron man and avengers franchises. Che leery is perfect for Effie and maybe Abigail Breslin for prim

    • Katnissblows

      Why do they bother to ask this question. Apparently they do not care what the fans think. They will cast Drew Carry as Haymitch, Kristen Stewart as Effie, and Miranda Cosgrove as Prim because age and appearance don’t matter to them.

      • Tess

        Jeez why ruin the comments board for people who actually happen to be fans and not deserters?

      • N

        I too find it a bit pointless to voice my opinion. So far they have ignored the fans completely, and made some – to say the least – questionable casting decisions.

      • Sarah

        Waaah. You are not a casting director.

      • Lauren

        Honestly, I think it’s silly to think that they would really base their decisions on what the fans want. What do fans know about making movies? And to say that they’ve ignored fans completely is inaccurate. There are plenty of people who are happy with the casting or are willing to wait and see how it turns out. It’s fun to speculate on who will play who. If you don’t want to play, that’s your problem.

      • Chelsie

        It doesn’t matter what the fans think… the casting directors will cast who they feel is right for the role based on their auditions for the parts and probably a variety of other things that I wouldn’t know because I am obviously not a casting director.

        EW is a magazine, and they have about as much say in the matter as we do. They ask the question because they want to spark conversation in the comments, and because they want everyone who reads this article to talk about it so more people will buy the magazine.

      • N

        Well no one here IS a casting director, presumably, but we’re still asked for our opinions. And Lauren, while Lawrence and Hutcherson were not who I imagined as Katniss and Peeta, they are both very good actors, and I AM willing to wait and see if they deliver. But are you seriously telling me that casting Hemsworth is not a questionable decision? In what universe is he a valid choice for Gale? I’m not even a fan of the character, but that doesn’t mean I’d like to see the part butchered by someone who can’t act and looks nothing like Gale.

      • Lauren

        @N Well, the people asking for your opinions have nothing to do with the movie. EW has no more control over casting this movie than you do, it doesn’t meant that they don’t want to talk about it. I enjoy reading people’s ideas of who should play who. I’m looking forward to seeing Lawrence and Hutcherson, I think they could both do a great job. As for Hemsworth, I have not seen any of his work and didn’t know who he was until yesterday. I can’t really comment on his acting ability and I’m not really hung up the characters looking exactly as they are described in the book. But I am not going to automatically say that the part of Gale is going to be butchered just because some people on the internet aren’t happy with the casting. I will save my complaining until after I see the movie.

      • Jb

        Some people need to chill out and realize these are books/movies, while fantastic (I am a huge fan!), not worth getting that insane about.

      • Meg

        I am hoping they cast based on talent…sure josh and liam do not look like their characters but they can change their appearances….you cannot change sucky actors into good ones…

      • JBD

        This made my day.

      • Rachel

        someone’s a whiny baby!

      • MariMari

        @Katnissblows –> Right on! Totally agree. I think all three actors cast suck! Total disappointment on who they chose.

      • TheMeadow.arfire.com

        So far my favorites have been chosen, so I’m good! And I’m thrilled that they haven’t listened to the fan majority who want their favorite ‘hot guy’ of the moment. Jen, Liam, and especially Josh are perfect for the roles they were chosen to play, and I trust Suzanne Collins opinions on the actors chosen to play the characters she created.

      • Hannah

        That’s so not true though! I don’t know if anyone has already said this, but if you notice Josh Hutcherson was THE main fan choice for Peeta MONTHS ago when the decision to make the movie was announced. So obviously the fans have some sort of say in the matter. Hopefully they can get Hugh Laurie Or RDJ as Haymitch, cause if they do, this film will be 100x more golden then it already is.

    • Tess

      I heard Hugh Laurie can’t do it as he’s got other commitments. But I’m all for RDJ!!! Or maybe even Gerard Butler…. yum.

      • leo

        What about Colin Farrell? He has matured a great deal in recent years, and like RDJ he has the history personally to draw from.
        I also think of Michael Fassbender for almost anything as perfect casting!

        I like Elisabeth Olsen for Primm (Mary Kate and Ashley’s sister) or the girl who plays Peyson on Make it or Break It (she looks like Jennifer)

        And I think Kristin could play layers….she can be bubbly yet dark. Alot of her roles have had a melancholy aspect to them.

      • ellie

        Elizabeth Olson is too old, at least she looks too old. Which Kristin are you referring too? I know it’s not that stink faced actress that always looks constipated.

      • Carrie

        leo: Prim is 12 years old. I know they are being a little loose on the age but that’s a big part of why Katniss volunteered herself – Prim is young and helpless. The actress who plays Peyson is way too old and mature for Prim. And Prim is not supposed to look anything like Katniss, either.

      • Mocha

        I think of Elle Fanning for Prim–she’s so innocent-looking I think she’d be perfect. Also maybe Chloe Moretz? For Haymitch I love the idea of RDJ, and I wouldn’t mind either Kristin Chenoweth or Elizabeth Banks for Effie.

    • Chaddogg

      One additional Haymitch possibility: Bruce Willis. He’d look like a guy from a coal mining district…..and yet tough enough to survive the Games.

      • Sookie

        I like that, after all we have to remember that while Haymitch is a drunk now he was once a champion so has to look like he could once have been buff and action hero like.

      • Heathbar

        Bruce Willis WAS a buff action hero like, so he’s got that. But he’s a little bit older than I pictured Haymitch. He could be good though.

      • Carrie

        Haymitch was in the 50th Games, so he would be 40-45, if we are being true to the characters age. Love Bruce Willis, but I think he’s too old.

      • E

        Ooooh. Totally never thought of that, but he’s a really fun choice. Charming, mean, drunk and funny. I still love Hugh Laurie and RDJ, but I could see BW too.

      • Heather P

        I think Bruce Willis would be perfect for it. As for him being too old, I don’t think so. Drink has a tendency to age one more rapidly.

    • Tonya

      I personally think Hugh Laurie isn’t a great choice, he already basically plays the same character on House. But I am ok with whoever they cast, if the general public picked every big name actor for a movie the entire movie would just be over populated with actors trying to out do the other.

      Bring on unknowns who know how to act!

      • Tracy

        I’ve always pictured Robbie Coltrane as Haymitch. Or someone like him. Haymitch is a drunk and not a pretty boy like RDJ, or Collin Ferrell, or any of these other hotties folks want to see in it. Haymitch is a hot mess. He’s not buff, he’s not attractive. IMO, anyway. ; P

      • mindi

        befor i even thought about casts, as i was reading the book hugh laurie was the man who was haymitch in the ongoing movie that was playing in my head. i didnt even think twice about it. it just happend. although, i would rather see some randome guy who can act, than some famous guy who cant. i also hear taylor laughtner wanted to be thresh.. what the heck?!? and katy perry as effie?

    • Ryno

      John C. McGinley as Haymitch.

    • Liz Lemon

      Karl Urban for Haymitch

      • JennieO

        YES!!!!

      • Jeannie

        Love that idea!

      • teekay

        Works for me!

    • Piper

      I’d love to see Jennifer Aniston as Effie.

      • ems

        Gross, easiest way to keep me away from the movie, I’d sh– twice then die.

      • Tracy

        I’d love to see Jennifer Anniston stop making movies.

      • Ellie

        I love Jennifer Aniston but her as Effie?Are you kidding me?!That would be horrible!I like the Elizabeth Banks idea as long as she could pull off the peppy vibe!

    • Melissa

      Hugh Laurie would be awsome as Haymitch.

      • mindi

        EXACTLY!!!!!

    • Andrew

      Hugh Laurie is waaaaay too old. You have to realize that Haymitch is anywhere from 37-43. Robert Downy Jr. is right in that Age area. And he looks like he would be a winner of the Hunger Games. He looks smart but he could be a great Drunk.
      Robert Downy Jr. For Haymitch. ALL THE WAY

      • Danielle

        Haymitch is 40 in the first book – he won the 50th Hunger Games when he was 16, Katniss is in the 74th Hunger Games (well her first trip into the arena anyway!) Just an FYI!

      • mindi

        the ppl casting dont care about age! have you seen some of the women they are trying to get to play prim?!?

  • Hi

    Che leery should say chenoweth. Sorry

  • Emma

    I still think that James Marsters would be a frickin’ fantastic Haymitch!! He can totally play a jerky drunk with a heart of gold. Can someone please get him into this movie??!?

    • melia

      I’ll second that nomination…

    • Lily

      Haymitch is described as ‘paunchy’ though. He is definately not.

      • Tracy

        Exactly! Cast the hotties for Fenrick later. Or Cinna.

      • Tracy

        I meant Finnich. ;P

      • Tracy

        FINNICK! LOL I give up.

  • Mairead

    Jeff Bridges, Nick Nolte or Hugh Laurie as Haymitch, Christine Baranski as Effie and Kiernan Shipka would be perfect as Prim!

    • Trixie

      Jeff Bridges and Nick Nolte are way too old to play Haymitch… Even Hugh Laurie is (to me) a bit too old. Haymitch would be, as per the age limits of the reaping, age 27-42.

      • Trixie

        Oops, I meant 37, not 27.

      • katie

        Yeah, I think Haymitch is about 16-17 when reaped, 24 years before Book 1. He is roughly Katniss’s mom’s age since her friend Maysilee Donner was also reaped that year. So that would make him about 40-41. But it won’t make too much of a difference if the actor is older since Haymitch could look older because of his drinking and hard life.

        I think RDJ or Hugh Laurie would be awesome, but I doubt either of them have time for Hunger Games.

      • Lilly

        All that alcohol will age you fast. If you drink like Haymitch does in the book a 30 year old will end up looking like a 45 year old.

      • Trixie

        @Lilly: Yes, alcohol can age you, but Bridges and Nolte are 61 and 70, respectively.. That just seems out of the realm of possibility for me.

    • enna

      LOVE Christine Baranski as a casting choice. Maybe a bit older than Effie, but could totally nail the part!

  • Kelly

    I know Prim is a big part to Kat but not a huge role in the book so may not be a big name to cast there. I would love to see Alan Rickman as Haymitch.

    • Katie G

      totally agree – Rickman could blow that part out of the water. Hugh Laurie would be great, too… but Alan Rickman is pure magic.

      • leo

        He should be younger though. I’m thinking more in the scale of Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, Paul Bettany or even Keanu Reeves. Any of them could get paunchy for the role and they all have the old soul and good heart down.

      • N

        Rickman is too iconic in another franchise. (we all know which one<3)

      • Heather P

        Ho. Ho. Ho.

      • howlynn

        No Alan Rickman would be amazing – and snape is not the only thing he’s ever done – Sweeny Todd, Qiggley Down under – and a ton of other things – He is just amazing

    • Carrie

      Prim’s role increases through the series, so if they really do intend to make it a franchise, they’ll need to take care with the casting of Prim as well.

    • Hannah

      Love Alan Rickman, but I agree with “N”- he stands out too much as Snape for me to play Haymitch.

  • Beauty

    John Goodman for Haymitch.

    • K+

      YES. Thank you! I never see Goodman suggested and I think he’d be perfect.

      • ashley

        no i pictured haymitch as skinny becuz of all the drinking and pukeing, he seems malnurished

      • Charlotte

        He’s described as paunchy, aka, fat. I don’t understand why fans keep on bringing up skinny people like Huge Laurie. John Goodman is a little too old, I think, but maybe Phillip Seymour Hoffman?

      • jodipo

        Paunchy is NOT fat, it means having a pot belly, or beer belly. A little padding would work on just about any guy out there. Try looking a word up before you start correcting everyone else on its usage.

      • mindi

        he would be skinny. people in the districys are dropping dead due to starvation. he might have a bit of a gut, but he would be for the most part a little paunchy

    • Snsetblaze

      I was thinking of him too – or an actor like him – I thought the role was more of a drunk who was out of shape. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good suggestion. I’d also suggest Paul Giamatti (who is a little paunchy but not much). And if they insist on someone thin, how about Liam Neeson?

    • Kathy

      fantastic choice!!!!

    • Liz Lemon

      He’s too old. Haymitch is in his early to mid-40s. And he’s supposed to be somewhat good looking.
      KARL URBAN would be perfect.

      • ems

        He WAS somewhat good looking when he was 16-17, now he’s worn and paunchy from years of drinking.

    • Strepsi

      I saw him as skinny but with a fat beer belly — you know how alcoholic men’s torsos can look like a lower case ‘b’ ? I vote for
      WILLIAM H. MACY !!!

      • lizziehobb

        I was totally all for RDJ, But WHM!!!! What an awesome and left field suggestion!!!! That would be FANTASTIC!!!

      • elcamino

        He would be good. He also was in Plesentville with Ross. On also would be Javier Bardem.

  • Arlene

    Joey King for Prim.

    • Abel

      Yes! No one ever suggests her!

  • crispy

    I enjoyed these books. It’s a shame that EW is going all Twilight on them. Expect the first (of many) cover stories in the next month.

    • tex

      I totally hear you. I loved the books but feel this Twillight’y tone creeping in all over. This story is not a romance – far from it. Hope the filmmakers stay true to the dark tone – and hope EW will too….

      • Marianne

        But in a way it does have that “twilight romance triangle” going on. In the middle of this war, she always wondering about her feelings for both Peeta and Gale.

  • Jackie

    I think the guy who played Wash on ‘Firefly’ would be a good Haymitch. I definitely prefer Kristin Chenoweth for Effie (I like Elizabeth Banks, but she’s just younger than I pictured Effie). And Abigail Breslin for Prim.

    • Sarah

      Following the Firefly line of thinking, I heard someone suggest Nathan Fillion and couldn’t get it out of my head. But now that I think about it, any of the men on Firefly would be awesome for Haysmitch (save Book–can’t see that one…), Morena Baccarin for President Coin, and Jewel Staite for Effie. There’s too many options for Prue, and I’m fine with all of them!

      • Sarah

        Oh I forgot about President Snow, Book could totally be President Snow:

        “So where does that leave you?”
        oh, shivers!

        The Robin Wright idea sounds awesome, too!

      • Mary

        Yes! Let’s just have a Firefly reuion in the Hunger Games!

      • Rosey

        Nathan Fillio would be perfect- I always imagined that Haymitch used to be attractive, as for all Hunger Games Winners, but let himself go. Give him a beer belly and make him age up a bit and we’re perfect.

      • kls

        YES! Nathan Fillion!! Perfect!

      • Lilith

        Nathan Fillion is perfect in everything….I would not enjoy watching him play a drunk who is NOT ruggedly handsome and quick witted or has Jedi Powers….I vote for Oliver Platt or Jeffery Dean Morgan.

  • DD

    I know he’s busy writing community, but I totally picture Haymitch being exactly like Dan Harmon…

    • elena

      That brainthought totally occurred to me too! Weird world. Although Dan Harmon kinda just strikes me as that kind of guy…

      • mindi

        haymitch seems more like hugh… the man who plays house. idk, thats what came to mind for me but DH would be good.

  • 516

    Emma Caulfield for Effie.

    • Beth

      Oh, that would be perfect! I can’t believe I never thought of her for it.

    • jodipo

      wow, that never occurred to me either, though Sarah Michelle Gellar certainly did. Either one would be a great Effie

  • steph

    If Chenoweth is not Effie, I will rage.

    • Rachel

      Me too!

    • Tess

      Me three… But only a little bit. And i’ll watch the movie anyway >.<

    • Liz Lemon

      She won’t be Effie. I bet they cast someone random for that role.

  • 516

    Vera Farmiga and Billy Crudup for Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen

    • 516

      and Rupert Friend for Cinna

      • Snsetblaze

        Cillian Murphy for Cinna.

      • crispy

        Have they not done the “Cast Cinna” post yet? ‘Cuz my vote is for Meshach Taylor! So not kidding.

      • N

        Justin Theroux for Cinna? And Robin Wright for Mrs Everdeen?

      • katie

        Yes, I totally picture Robin Wright as Mrs. Everdeen. But she’s playing Erika Berger in the Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo….so I doubt she would be able to fit another trilogy into her schedule.

      • Jen40

        I read the book again and I still can’t picture anybody but Mr. Jay from Top Model as Cinna.

      • Strepsi

        KYAN DOUGLAS for Cinna — he is very handsome and likeable, and was the most low-key masculine of the Queer Eye guys, which is half-way there, while still being, you know, a queer designer — thus he’s the whole package

      • Cutty

        I was totally picturing Cillian Murphy as Cinna the entire time I was reading the books.

      • JZH

        No no no everybody! Austin Scarlett from Project Runway IS Cinna…please consider him! He has a very distinct look and style plus he has heart (example: watch his reality show on Lifetime with Santion Rice).

      • JZH

        I meant Santino Rice (sorry typo).

  • Court

    I’m not sure if he’s a “big” enough star, but I’d love to see what Misha Collins could do with Haymitch.

    • Jackie

      Just reading that made my heart jump a little bit (LOVE him on ‘Supernatural’!).

      • Court

        I know, right? I’m thinking future Cas in “The End” practically could’ve been his audition for this role.

      • howlynn

        Oh I Like that idea too — I am for Alan Rickman (snape) or Charlie Sheen (I mean he IS haymitch) But Misha would be awesome too!

    • Strepsi

      Never thought of him for it, but
      +100
      for you!

    • Meredith44

      I hadn’t thought of that idea, but I really like it.

  • Anne

    Though they are great suggestions, RDJ is too huge of a star to play a supporting role in a teen franchise, and Hugh Laurie is never available for movies because of House. Personally, I would suggest Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Haymitch – he could totally pull off a charming drunk, as well as the shrewdness and hardness of Haymitch.

    • CaliJ

      I’ve always pictured Nic Cage as Haymitch,but PS Hoffman would be excellent.

    • katie

      I agree with you Anne. RDJ or Hugh would be great, but there’s no way they’d do it. I’m even iffy on whether P.S. Hoffman would do it because he is a big (Oscar nominated) star. But I do think he would be great.

    • Eric

      Phillip Seymour Hoffman wouldn’t be a rough enough character for Haymitch. I think RDJ would be perfect for it. Also Elizabeth Banks would be perfect has Effie. Think of her as Avery on 30 Rock. Preppy yet strong willed, perfect Effie.

      • r

        willow smith for rue

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