Two-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson is joining the cast of “The Hunger Games” in the pivotal role of Haymitch Abernathy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Abernathy is the mentor of teen gladiator Katniss Everdeen (who will be played by “X-Men: First Class” star Jennifer Lawrence) in Lionsgate’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins” bestselling novel.
The book describes the character as a washed-up drunkard who was once the big winner of the Hunger Games two decades earlier.
Also joining the cast are Jeremy Marinas and Dakota Hood, both playing tributes from District 10.
The rest of the cast has been quickly coming together over the last few weeks, and includes previously announced performers Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Paula Malcomson as Katniss’ mom, Elizabeth Banks as Katniss” handler Effie, Liam Hemsworth (brother of “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth) as Gale, Stanley Tucci as Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman and Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, the head gamesmaster.
The roles of Katniss” designer Cinna, President Snow and tributes Cato and Clove all still need to be cast.
The film is being directed by Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit”) and adapted by Billy Ray (“Shattered Glass”).
Harrelson was recently seen in “Zombieland” and “No Country For Old Men,” and will soon star in “Friends With Benefits.” He was nominated for Oscars for his work in “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and 2009’s “The Messenger.” Along with Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) and Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”), Harrelson is the third Oscar nominee in the “Hunger Games” cast.
“Hunger Games” will open nationwide March 23, 2012.
What do you think of the casting choices so far? Will Woody make a good Haymitch? Or could someone else serve the role better?