With his naturally blond hair and muscular shoulders, it's no surprise that Alexander Ludwig was one of many young Hollywood actors who auditioned to play Katniss' love interest Peeta in "The Hunger Games." When he didn't get the part, director Gary Ross offered him the role of Cato, the most fearsome of the 24 Tributes.
Ludwig smartly snapped up the role and made the character his own, committing to an intense fitness and weapons-training regime that left him as dexterous with a sword as Jennifer Lawrence was with a bow and arrow. So he may not be the Boy with the Bread, but he's poised to impress as the Boy with the Brute Strength.
Also Check Out: "Hunger Games" News, Features, Photos and Video
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada
What He's Done: "The Hunger Games" is far from Ludwig's first film. After four supporting parts in straight-to-video family movies, Ludwig landed a starring role in "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising," an adaptation of a popular middle-grade fantasy book series. Two years later, he starred in Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain" remake with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Also Check Out: Next Factor: "Hunger Games" Star Amandla Stenberg
What He's Doing Now: Ludwig plays Cato, the one to beat at the Games. Like Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman), Cato is from District 2. Like Katniss, he volunteers to be his hometown's competitor -- but for glory, not to spare another selected Tribute. Boasting a shredded bod and serious skills with a host of weapons, Cato clearly believes he can win. During the Games, Cato leads the "Careers," the loose alliance of Tributes from pro-Games Districts.
"Physically, I wanted Cato to have as big of a physical presence as he did a mental one, in the movie. There was lots of fight training that we had to go through," Ludwig told Collider about the role. "I worked with an ex-Navy SEAL to bulk up. I did tons of hand-to-hand combat."
Reminds Us of: There's a laid-back breeziness to Ludwig's previous performances that, coupled with his post-"Games" frame, is reminiscent of a young Matthew "Just Keep Livin'" McConaughey. But since he's Canadian and isn't afraid of acting goofy, maybe Ryan Reynolds is more like it.
Fun Facts: One degree from Josh Hutcherson: Ludwig starred in "Race to Witch Mountain" with AnnaSophia Robb, who had two years earlier played Hutcherson's best friend in another adaptation of a beloved children's book, "Bridge to Terabithia."
Quotable: "I've never been a bad guy before, so I loved the idea. It's been an honor just to be part of this," he told Teen Vogue.
Twitter Handle: @alexanderludwig
What's Next: So far, Ludwig hasn't announced any post-"Hunger Games" film projects, but with his screen presence and beefed-up boy next door looks, he's sure to score some sweet movie or TV gigs soon. The actor is also branching out into music and already released a single called "Liv it Up (Teenage Wasteland)"; we're guessing the title is a tribute to The Who's "Baba O'Riley," since he mentions it in the song. You can listen to it on YouTube.