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Woody Harrelson cast as Haymitch in THE HUNGER GAMES

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
May 10th, 2011

Our long national nightmare is over. At least, my personal nightmare. We have a Haymitch Abernathy!

After weeks and weeks of teasing and dribbly-down casting, THE HUNGER GAMES has finally announced its Haymitch Abernathy casting - and it's Woody Harrelson. I don't know if I am just tired or relieved or what, but I don't hate this idea!

THR reports that Harrelson has landed the role that, for all intents and purposes, is the true third lead of the Hunger Games trilogy (sorry, Gale). Haymitch is the only surviving Hunger Games victor from District 12, which means that, year after year, he must serve as mentor to the district's two tributes. Very often, those tributes die, no matter what Haymitch tries to do. In THE HUNGER GAMES, he will mentor Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson's Peeta Mellark. Haymitch is a complicated man - haunted, essentially a shut-in, basically a barely functioning alcoholic. His role in Suzanne Collins' book is incredibly important - this is the casting many fans have been waiting for with baited breath (me included).

Though Harrelson is not the dream first choice of many fans (that would be Hugh Laurie) or the big name constantly tossed around (Robert Downey, Jr.), he's also not the off-the-mark rumor of John C. Reilly. This is not perfect casting, but it's inventive and interesting, and it's a choice fans may just come to love.

Harrelson is a talented actor who should be able to marry the different parts of Haymitch - the bite, the sarcasm, the pain, the strength, the desperation - into one really great performance. The more I think on this, the more I love it.

We're still waiting for casting announcements on Cinna (Katniss' personal stylist), President Snow (ruler of Panem), and the final two tributes, Cato and Clove.

THE HUNGER GAMES will open on March 23, 2012.

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