EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate Confirms Jennifer Lawrence As Katniss In ‘The Hunger Games’

Jennifer Lawrence, prepare yourself for “The Hunger Games.”

A long casting search has officially come to an end. After weeks and months of feverish speculation over which young actress would land the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen, Lionsgate Entertainment has exclusively confirmed to MTV News that the “Winter’s Bone” actress has officially signed on for the lead role in “The Hunger Games,” director Gary Ross’ adaptation of the fan-favorite novel series from writer Suzanne Collins.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave,” Collins said of the casting in an official statement. “I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.”

“I’m so excited work with Jen and see her bring this character to life,” added Ross. “Katniss requires a young actress with strength, depth, complexity, tenderness, and power. There are very few people alive who can bring that to a role. Jen brings it in spades. She’s going to be an amazing Katniss.”

Lawrence stars in “The Hunger Games” as Katniss Everdeen, a self-sufficient 16-year-old who lives in District 12, one of the poorer districts in the nation of Panem, what used to be known as North America before its utter destruction several years earlier. Katniss becomes a participant in the Hunger Games, an annual televised tournament where one boy and one girl from each of the nation’s twelve districts must fight to the death until only one competitor, or “tribute,” is left standing.

The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters on March 23, 2012.

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