It's official - The Hunger Games has found its Peeta and Gale, which means nothing if you aren't familiar with the books but means everything to fans of Suzanne Collins' bestselling book series. Lionsgate officially announced Josh Hutcherson has been cast as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth is Gale Hawthorne in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games.
Jennifer Lawrence was recently announced as the lead character, Katniss Everdeen, in the action drama. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) is directing the film with Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik producing. The studio's aiming for a March 23, 2012 release of the first film of the Hunger Games trilogy.
In the press release announcing Hutcherson as Peeta and Hemsworth as Gale, Lionsgate offered up this synopsis of the characters:
Peeta accompanies heroine Katniss Everdeen into the 74th annual Hunger Games as the male tribute chosen from their native District 12, the most remote and marginalized district of all the subjugated districts of Panem. At the outset of the Games, Peeta publicly confesses his longtime feelings for Katniss, setting up one of the most fascinating fictional rapports of all time with his supposed arena rival.
Though Katniss and Gale have never had a romantic relationship, they share a transcendent bond, often of few words. When Katniss volunteers to participate in the 74th Annual Hunger Games in her younger sister's stead, they both presume that bond will carry her far through the horrors she will face in the arena, and they each silently hope they'll be reunited in safety on the other side of the ordeal.
Josh Hutcherson's film credits include The Kids Are All Right, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Bridge to Terabithia. He'll next be seen in Red Dawn and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Liam Hemsworth, Thor actor Chris Hemsworth's younger brother, is best known for starring opposite Miley Cyrus in The Last Song.
Also of Interest:
- Josh Hutcherson discusses The Kids Are All Right
- Liam Hemsworth's a Hunger Games fan
- Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss
(Photo of Josh Hutcherson by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)