‘Hunger Games’ Experts React To Peeta, Gale First Look

When Jennifer Lawrence fired up the cover of Entertainment Weekly in May, sporting Katniss’ brunette braided locks and signature bow and arrow, she silenced many critics who questioned whether the too blond, too voluptuous, too tall, too whatever actress could portray “The Hunger Games” heroine. And now, her co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (who play Peeta and Gale) have their own dedicated cover, displaying their own franchise-friendly makeovers. But were these “’Hunger Games’ Hotties,” as the magazine calls them, able to follow in Jennifer’s fan-approved footsteps? According to several “THG” experts, the answer is mostly yes.

“A lot of people were very adamant about not accepting Jennifer as Katniss, but she pulled it off wonderfully,” Megan Scott of The Hob said. “Now, with the guys, everyone has been dying to see Peeta and Gale in character, and I think they nailed it.”

“Hunger Games” Examiner Sara Gundell was also impressed with the actors’ appearances. “When they cast Josh and Liam in these roles, I had a kind of wait-and-see attitude. I didn’t feel strongly about them either way, and I still don’t necessarily. I still think we need to wait and see how they do performance-wise, as far as acting is concerned in the movie, but when it comes to their looks, I think the folks at Lionsgate have it nailed,” she said.

Savanna New, the co-host of “Hunger Games” Fireside Chat, was especially impressed with Josh’s transformation into a baker’s son. “With Josh, I think it is very much similar to the Jennifer reveal, because people have been clamoring for so long just to see glimpses of Josh’s blond hair,” she explained. “I think that now that we’ve seen Josh in character as Peeta, with the blond hair, wearing the apron, etc., a lot of people are now seeming to accept him.”

Of course, there will always be detractors, and many fans have expressed concern over the fact that Josh did not wear colored contact lenses for the shoot (Peeta has blue eyes). But Sara has one theory as to why some are still so divided—preferring one actor over another: “I think it’s a case of personal character preference coming through.”

’Hunger Games’ First Look: Josh Hutcherson As Peeta, Liam Hemsworth As Gale

Did Josh and Liam’s cover convince you? What do you think of their transformations? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!