Meet the cast of “The Hunger Games”

The air is buzzing with the newly released film, “The Hunger Games,” based on Suzanne Collins’ action-packed trilogy.  The first book was published September 14, 2008, selling 800,000 copies by the end of 17 months after the book first hit the shelves.  Director Gary Ross brings the story to the screen with a mix of well known and up and coming stars.

The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is played by Jennifer Lawrence, an Academy Award nominee for her performance in “Winter’s Bone.”  The reviews for her performance in “The Hunger Games” are mainly positive.

Co-staring with Lawrence is Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark.  From cute romantic drama/comedies such as “Little Manhattan,” to fantasy-adventure films like “Zathura,” to the Academy Award nominated film, “The Kids Are Alright,” Hutcherson has displayed talent in his ability to portray a wide range of emotions and roles.

Initially, “Hunger Games” fans were unhappy with the casting of Hutcherson as Peeta, but after his appearance was altered to match Peeta and he started giving interviews about his character, many fans have had a change of heart.

Playing Gale Hawthorne is Liam Hemsworth.  Hemsworth won awards such as “Young Hollywood Breakout of the Year” for his role in “The Last Song” in 2010 with Miley Cyrus.  His acting experience includes roles in movies, television, and two music videos.  Fans reception Hemsworth’s playing Gale seems to be welcoming.

Eleven year-old actress, Willow Shields plays the emotionally demanding role of Primrose Everdeen.  Shields entered the acting scene in 2008 as a voice actor in the short, “Las Vegas New Mexico 1875.”  She has acted in only three other roles since that time, but she has landed a role in one of the biggest movies of the year and director Gary Ross says they are lucky to have her in the cast.

Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson bring life to the roles of the quirky and unconventional characters, Effie Trinket and Haymitch Abernathy.  Elizabeth Banks is a versatile actress who has done television, film, dramas and comedies.  Harrelson too, has proved to be comfortable in a wide variety of roles, starting out as Woody Boyd on the 1982 sitcom, “Cheers,” was nominated twice for an Oscar for both “The People vs. Larry Flint” and “The Messenger,” and of course portrayed Tallahassee, a chainsaw-wielding, zombie-fighting character in the horror/comedy “Zombieland.”

Academy Award nominee and two-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Stanley Tucci portrays Caesar Flickerman, the eccentric, over the top, and charismatic talk show host of The Capitol.  Tucci’s past work is extremely varied in genre and in medium.  In 2010 he was nominated for his dramatic role as George Harvey in “The Lovely Bones” and has won and been nominated for many other awards since.  All in all, he’s a very convincing Flickerman, which is important since the character plays a larger role in the movie than he did in the book.

The actors and actresses of “The Hunger Games” do a remarkable job of staying true to their characters and giving the audience the story they’ve longed to see on the big screen since Suzanne Collins put the first book on the shelves.