‘The Hunger Games’: Josh Hutcherson versus Liam Hemsworth
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Meet the main cast / characters of ‘The Hunger Games’

By Jevon Phillips, Emily Christianson and Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times staff writers

Casting for the movie version of Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel “The Hunger Games” was a big source of debate and speculation for fans and actors alike. Open casting calls such as one in South Carolina (with the film under its “Artemis” working title) attracted hundreds. And higher-profile actresses like Abigail Breslin and Chloe Moretz made it known early that they were interested in being a part of the franchise. Jennifer Lawrence nabbed the lead role of Katniss Everdeen, with Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth cast later as Peeta Mallark and Gale Hawthorne. Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Paula Malcolmson, Lenny Kravitz and more have also signed on. The “tributes” (the participants in the Hunger Games) and main players in Panem have been cast -- and here they are.  (Clockwise: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times, Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Sam Claflin

Who he is:Claflin came to the attention of many moviegoers with his role as Phillip in the 2011 chapter of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. He was next cast as William in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” shown above.

“Hunger Games” persona: Charismatic and manipulative, Finnick, a former Hunger Games victor, is one of the most compelling new tributes Katniss Everdeen must face as she returns to the arena. Katniss forms a rather suspicious alliance with the charming victor, unsure of where his loyalties lie. (Alex Bailey / Universal)
Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Who he is: Hoffman is an Oscar-winning actor who recently completed a Broadway run in “Death of a Salesman.”

“Hunger Games” persona: Hoffman will play head gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee who designs and controls what happens in the Hunger Game arenas in the upcoming sequel to the film. (Joel Ryan / Associated Press)
Actor: Jennifer Lawrence

Who she is: Lawrence shot to fame in 2010 with her Sundance hit “Winter’s Bone,” about a young girl from the Ozarks trying to track down her father. The breakthrough role earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress. Next, she’s set to costar with Mel Gibson in “The Beaver” and take on the role of Mystique in “X-Men: First Class.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Katniss is a resourceful teen living in Panem’s District 12. Before being chosen to fight to the death in the Hunger Games, Katniss spends her time hunting illegally and trading goods on the black market with her best friend Gale to help feed their families. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Josh Hutcherson

Who he is: He’s just 18, but Hutcherson has already enjoyed a long career with films like “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and, most recently, the Oscar-nominated film “The Kids Are All Right.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: A baker’s son, Peeta is District 12’s male “tribute” who develops a close bond with Katniss during the games. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Liam Hemsworth

Who he is: Though he had multiple-episode stints on “Neighbours” and “The Elephant Princess” and was in “Knowing” with Nicolas Cage, he’s probably best known for being the on-again-off-again boyfriend of pop star Miley Cyrus and starring alongside her in “The Last Song.” His brother Chris is playing Thor in “Thor.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Gale is the best friend and hunting partner of Katniss Everdeen in District 12, one of the poorer districts in Panem. When Katniss was 12 and he 14, both of their dads died in the same mining accident. They’ve grown close over the years and make a good team, especially with his skill for setting traps and Katniss’ accuracy with a bow. (Dan Steinberg / Associated Press)
Actor: Elizabeth Banks

Who she is: One of the busiest actresses in the biz, Banks has jumped from genre to genre, notably playing First Lady Laura Bush in “W” the same year she made the raunchy comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” with Seth Rogen.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Effie escorts the tributes from District 12 to the capital for training and media interviews and then to the games. She’s fashion-forward and likes wearing wigs, even bubble-gum pink ones. (David Livingston / Getty Images)
Actor: Paula Malcomson

Who she is: Malcomson recently had stints as Amanda Graystone on “Caprica,” the “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff, and as Madeline Jackson on NBC’s “The Event.” The actress is also known for playing Trixie on “Deadwood” and Maureen Ashby on “Sons of Anarchy.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Mrs. Everdeen is a healer, the town doctor without a medical degree. She was once a beauty, but a hard life in District 12’s the Seam has hardened her features. Her daughter Katniss’ involvement in the Hunger Games is not her only brush with the event. (Syfy)
Actor: Lenny Kravitz

Who he is: A multiplatinum-selling, all-American rocker. Not as well known for his acting ability, his debut in “Precious” was well-received.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Cinna is a stylist assigned to Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games -- tasked to make her presentable and even trandscendant to the television viewers in Panem. He becomes much more than that to Katniss, and his understated appearance in a sea of often over-the-top fashion excess sets him apart just as much as his unique creations. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Willow Shields

Who she is: The New Mexico actress is a relative newcomer with a TV movie (“Beyond the Blackboard”), a TV show appearance (“In Plain Sight ") and a short film (“Las Vegas New Mexico 1875 ") in her short list of credits.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Prim is the catalyst of it all. She is everything to her older sister, Katniss Everdeen, and Katniss would make any sacrifice for her. (Lionsgate)
Actor: Wes Bentley

Who he is: Bentley was an up-and-comer when he starred in “American Beauty,” but a debilitating drug addiction set him back. He’s rebuilding his career in his 30s by taking on roles in Roland Joffe’s “There Be Dragons” and Alejo Mo-Sun’s “Hirokin.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Crane is the head game-maker of the 74th annual Hunger Games, which pit heroine Katniss Everdeen and her childhood acquaintance Peeta Mellark against one another and 22 other teenagers in a life-threatening competition. (Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images)
Actor: Dayo Okeniyi

Who is he: The only production the actor has listed (on mighty IMDB) is a thriller called “Slew Hampshire,” which has no release date.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Thresh is a tribute from the agriculture-centered District 11. Not much is known about the imposing, solitary participant. ()
Actor: Amandla Stenberg

Who she is: Her name means power in Zulu. After doing commercials and modeling for years, the 12-year-old actress shot her first film in 2010, an action-thriller called “Colombiana,” in which she played a younger version of actress Zoe Saldana.

‘Hunger Games’: The mysterious Rue is a spritely tribute who hails from District 11, where she worked in the orchards. Her participation in the games helps set pivotal events in motion. (Cat Ward)
Actor: Jack Quaid

Who he is: The son of actors Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan and a frequenter of New York University.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: A career tribute, Marvel is the representative put forth from District 1, whose primary industry is making luxury items for the Capitol. The ruthless competitor’s actions also have long-lasting consequences. (Associated Press)
Actor: Leven Rambin

Who she is: Rambin has had recurring roles on a number of shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI: Miami,” but her longest role was on the recently canceled soap opera “All My Children.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Glimmer is a career tribute from District 1 and is described as one of the most beautiful of the assembled fighters. Tall, with flowing blond hair and emerald eyes, she is a fierce competitor once the battle begins. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Actor: Stanley Tucci

Who he is: One of the most versatile and respected actors around, Tucci has won multiple Golden Globe awards and an Emmy, and has was most recently also nominated for an Academy Award as supporting actor in “The Lovely Bones.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Caesar Flickerman is the very colorful personality that is the face of the Hunger Games as the interviewer who introduces the ill-fated tributes to the viewing audience and those in attendance in the Capitol. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Woody Harrelson

Who he is: Forever ingrained in the public conscieousness as bartender Woody from “Cheers,” Harrelson has also had a string of popular and well-regarded films, including “No Country for Old Men,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Zombieland,” and “The Messenger.”

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Haymitch Abernathy is the winner of the 50th Hunger Games, and is a mentor to the District 12 tributes. It is at the 74th games that he meets the duo of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark, and is instrumental in their participation and preparation for the games. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Actor: Toby Jones

Who he is: The character actor has appeared in “Frost/Nixon,” “W.” and as Truman Capote in “Infamous,” pictured here. He also voiced Dobby the house elf in the “Harry Potter” films.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: Jones will play the arena announcer Claudius Templesmith, who delivers unorthodox twists and turns to Katniss and her fellow tributes while they are in the Hunger Games arena. (Van Redin / Warner Bros.)
Actor: Donald Sutherland

Who he is: From 1970’s “M.A.S.H.” to 2011’s “The Mechanic” in film, to Golden Globe-winning TV performances in 2002’s “Path to War” and 1995’s “Citizen X,” Sutherland’s career is going into its sixth decade of memorable characters.

‘Hunger Games’ persona: President Snow is, to Katniss Everdeen, “snake-like” -- a description of his physical attributes (thin, wispy) and personality. Smelling of blood and roses, he rules Panem from the Capitol, keeping the Hunger Games alive as a reminder of where the seat of power resides.  (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)