Elizabeth Banks Signs On To 'The Hunger Games'

Actress will play rose-haired escort Effie Trinket in the film adaptation.

Last week's intriguing "Hunger Games" casting rumors are true! Elizabeth Banks has officially been cast in Lionsgate's highly anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopian novel. Banks will play Effie Trinket, the intense, chirpy, pink-haired escort to District 12's Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. Effie accompanies and helps prepare the teenagers on their fight-to-the-death journey.

The 37-year-old Banks last appeared onscreen opposite Russell Crowe in the thriller "The Next Three Days," and has a recurring role on NBC's "30 Rock."

She'll next be seen alongside Paul Rudd in the comedy "Our Idiot Brother." Banks' casting announcement leaves only a few more holes to fill in the ever-growing cast, with fans eager to learn who'll play the roles of Cinna, the stylist assigned to the District 12 tributes, and Haymich, the cranky, alcoholic, one-time Hunger Games champion from 12. Although reports surfaced late last week that John C. Reilly was in talks to play Haymich, we've heard that's just a rumor.

Banks joins previously announced co-stars Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), along with Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi as District 11 tributes, Leven Rambin and Jack Quaid as District 1 contenders, and Ian Nelson and Kalia Prescott for District 3.

Directed by Gary Ross and scripted by Billy Ray, "The Hunger Games," the first movie in a possible trilogy based on Collins' books, is expected to shift into production later this year. The film is slated to be released on March 23, 2012.

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