'Hunger Games' Gets It Right With Haymitch Abernathy Casting Choice

Linda Sharps

When the rumors were flying that John C. Reilly was going to play everyone's favorite Hunger Games drunk, Haymitch Abernathy, I thought it sounded like a fairly decent casting choice. You can certainly picture Reilly in the part, can't you? He's just kind of got a perfect beer-puffed Haymitchy face, if nothing else.

It turns out we didn't need to waste any time wondering if Cal Naughton Jr. from Talladega Nights has the acting chops to pull off the role, though, because Lionsgate had someone different in mind. The man who will play Katniss and Peeta's mentor is none other than Woody Harrelson.

Okay, if John C. Reilly was a not-bad pick for Haymitch, Woody Harrelson is freaking BRILLIANT. I mean, BRILL. YANT.

Haymitch is a hell of a character in the books—he's a guy who survived one of the past Hunger Games who's now tasked with training the new Games recruits. He's a sloppy drunk who doesn't initially appear to care about anything, but his booze-diluted waters run deep. Whoever plays this role needs to find a sort of balance between "comically hopeless drunk" and "tortured, brilliant strategist."

Hello. Woody-damn-Harrelson. Someone give that casting director a cookie.

They'll need to adjust Harrelson's looks a bit, I think, since Haymitch is generally described as a once-handsome man who's gone paunchy after years of drinking. Maybe Harrelson can just drop his much-lauded raw food diet in favor of Ding Dongs for a few months.

My boyfriend Woody joins an increasingly star-studded Hunger Games cast led by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Elizabeth Banks as Katniss’ handler Effie, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Stanley Tucci as Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman, and Wes Bentley as head gamemaker Seneca Crane.

Now: who will play Katniss’ designer Cinna or President Snow? I hope whoever lobbied for Harrelson is in charge of those characters as well.

What do you think of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy?

Image via Flickr/myshutterrocks

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