March 25, 2011 3:58pm PT by Borys Kit
Lionsgate Testing Actors to Star in 'Hunger Games' Opposite Jennifer Lawrence (Exclusive)
Now that Lionsgate and Hunger Games director Gary Ross have the role of Katniss Everdeen all sewn up in the form of Jennifer Lawrence, the next task is casting the role of the male love interest, Peeta, plus Gale, the third point of a possible love triangle. Testing is taking place Friday, with some of Hollywood's hottest rising actors in the mix.
The story is set in a future America which is divided into 12 poor districts that serve a wealthy Capitol territory. Once a year, each district submits a girl and boy as tributes to participate in life-or-death games. Sixteen-year old Katniss is the girl who volunteers to take the place of her sister; Peeta is a boy from Katniss' town also selected for the games who, during the opening ceremony, reveals his unrequited love for her. Katniss spends the rest of the story unsure whether the move was a survival ploy or a true act. The Gale character teaches Katniss the way of the hunter and plays a bigger role in the subsequent trilogy.
Testing for the Peeta role is taking place today and, according to insiders, here are the contenders:
Josh Hutcherson (pictured, right): A Hollywood vet at 18 years old, he starred with Brendan Fraser in Journey to the Center of the Earth and toplines the sequel later this year. He established indie cred last year by appearing in the critical hit The Kids Are All Right. (ICM, The Beddingfield Company)
Alexander Ludwig (top left corner, above): the 19-year old Canadian starred in 2009's Escape to Witch Mountain as well as 2007's The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. (ICM)
Hunter Parrish (bottom right corner, above): the 23-year old starred in Broadway's Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening and now is one of the stars of Showtime's Weeds. (WME, Management 360)
Lucas Till (top right corner, above): The 20-year old is having quite a year: He is currently on screen in Battle: Los Angeles and plays Havok in May's X-Men: First Class. (APA, Luber Roklin Entertainment)
Evan Peters (bottom left corner, above): The 24-year old may be best known to the geek-set for playing one of Aaron Johnson's best friends in Kick-Ass. He recurred on a recent season of One Tree Hill and has been working plenty in TV, with recent credits including The Office, The Mentalist and Parenthood. (Gersh, Luber Rokin Entertainment)
For Gale, sources say the list includes, but is not limited to:
Liam Hemsworth, who is best known for starring opposite Miley Cyrus in The Last Song.
David Henrie: One of the stars of Wizards of Waverly Place and a regular on How I Met Your Mother. Set to star in the CBS pilot for The Assistants.
Robbie Amell starred as Fred in the recent straight-to-DVD Scooby Doo! movies and was one of the stars of Nickelodeon's True Jackson, VP.
Drew Roy, a Disney Channel and ABC Family actor (Hannah Montana, Greek) who is one of the stars of TNT's high-profile sci-fi series Falling Skies.