‘Hunger Games’ Adds Woody Harrelson To Cast

Actor set to play District 12 mentor Haymitch Abernathy in highly anticipated film adaptation.

The highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian best-seller “The Hunger Games” has been loading its cast with a slew of new faces, most recently Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane and two brand new actors as the District 10 tributes.

In addition to the casting announcements of high-profile stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Lionsgate has been revealing its Hunger Games tributes via its Facebook page.

The big news on Tuesday (May 10) is that Haymitch Abernathy will be played by Woody Harrelson and not John C. Reilly, as had been previously rumored.

Director Gary Ross said of the casting decision: “Haymich is such an unforgettable character: funny cranky outrageous, sarcastic, impatient, biting but ultimately kind. I’m so grateful we have Woody Harrelson to play him. I can’t wait for us to get to work.”

Haymitch is the only District 12 survivor of the Hunger Games, thus far, and because that title affords him a certain status and life of leisure, he has let himself go, becoming known more for being drunk and disorderly than a victorious tribute. And because he’s the only winner from the impoverished district, Haymich must serve as mentor to each year’s new crop of tributes — whether he wants to or not.

Veteran actor Harrelson has been working in television and film for more than two decades, having won over audiences with his portrayal of lovable bartender Woody Boyd on “Cheers.” He also played Grace’s boyfriend Nathan on “Will and Grace” and has appeared in big-screen flicks like “Kingpin,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination), “Zombieland,” and “The Messenger” (earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom). He’ll next be seen in the Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis romantic comedy, “Friends With Benefits.”

What do you think of Woody Harrelson playing Haymitch? Tell us in the comments below!

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