I’m going to say that this cast photo of The Hunger Games‘ tributes (from Vanity Fair) is even more exciting than the character posters that came out last week—because as cool as it was to see everyone in costume, here you get a real sense of how the cast interacts with one another. There are 24 tributes total; only nine are shown here. (Liam Hemsworth‘s character Gale doesn’t end up in the Games.)
If you go to VF’s official site, you’ll find that it’s an interactive poster; hover over each actor and you’ll find out tidbits about his/her background and how s/he got the part. (But be careful if you haven’t read the book; the article drops spoilers nilly-willy.) Check out the highlights, and meet each actor (from left to right), below.
Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove): You might remember Isabelle from her breakout role as the evil orphan Esther just a few years ago. It’s hard to believe that she’s only 14, but that’s actually why she didn’t get her original choice of role: Katniss. Producers told her she was too young, but then they asked her back to play the twisted District 2 tribute Clove. And considering her work in Orphan, it’s a much better fit.
Jack Quaid (Marvel): Dennis Quaid‘s son had quite the interesting audition process. “It was the first time I’ve ever been asked to choose a weapon at an audition,” he says. “I was given a choice between a Nerf crossbow, a plastic butcher knife, and a stick. I chose the knife.”
Jackie Emerson (Foxface): What’s so cool about Jackie’s story is that, in her words, “I was a fan asked to play a part in a movie I had only dreamed about, and the novelty of that has still not worn off.” Now she’s a fan with fans—there’s a Twitter campaign to get the aspiring singer a guest spot on Glee.
Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh): Dayo and Jackie seem to have become friends; they did a livechat over Twitter together and tweet back and forth. Though born in Nigeria, he moved with his family to the United States in 2003 but had only a handful of small movie roles before he got the chance to play the hulking tribute from the same district as Rue.
Leven Rambin (Glimmer): Probably the most fitting casting choice has the All My Children star playing Glimmer, the District 1 tribute who’s obsessed with the honor of winning and uses her sex appeal to get the audience rooting for her before the Games even start. Since Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is someone who doesn’t have the time or means to even consider being feminine — doesn’t do you much good if you starve — it’ll be interesting to see the two of them go up against each other.
Alexander Ludwig (Cato): Playing Clove’s equally insane counterpart forced Alexander to beef up before his audition. The timing was all very lovely: He graduated high school, went traveling all summer, worked out, then did his audition for director Gary Ross.
Amandla Stenberg (Rue): Although a lot of people wanted to see the more well-known Willow Smith in this fan-favorite role, we think that Amandla has what it takes. After all, she says that she showed up to her audition “wearing a muddy T-shirt and khakis. In my hair were twigs and leaves, as if I had been living in the woods for weeks.” Smart kid!
And then the three you know…
Josh Hutcherson (Peeta): The most important thing for the Kids Are All Right Star to nail was the chemistry with Jen, since Peeta and Katniss pretend to be in love to get the audience’s support during the Games. (Well, one of them is pretending…)
Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss): Despite wowing audiences in Winter’s Bone and being nominated for an Academy Award, Jennifer was so scared of the books’ importance that she almost turned down the script. But so far reaction to her as Katniss has been positive, since we already know she can carry a dramatic role.
Liam Hemsworth (Gale): Liam has the deepest quote of the bunch: “Could something like this actually happen to us one day? When you think about the fast-growing popularity of reality TV today, and the crazy premise of many of the reality-TV shows that are currently on the air, is it really that far off for us to consider something like this being possible?” He sure has thought about this a lot. Probably all that time he spends out of the Arena.
The Hunger Games comes to theaters on March 23, 2012. And yes, you can pick up the latest issue of Vanity Fair (out today) to forever treasure this photo.
Thanks to Down with the Capitol for the tip!