The Hunger Games is one of the most popular movie franchises out there, and it has certainly made a huge mark in the teen dystopian genre. While it’s hard not to imagine Jennifer Lawrence having her breakout role as Katniss Everdeen, or Josh Hutcherson being the lovable Peeta Mellark, the cast members of this film series weren’t always set in stone.
From other famous teen dystopian actresses to hit comedy actors, there were a lot of popular names that were in the draw for these huge roles. It’s time to see what could have been if these final contenders had landed the role instead.
10 Shailene Woodley (Katniss Everdeen)
This is probably one of everyone’s most shocking ‘almost casts’, since Woodley almost immediately went on to play the heroine Beatrice Prior is another hit teen dystopian drama, Divergent. Woodley auditioned for the role of Katniss, but has nothing but great things to say about Lawrence too.
It all worked out in the end, too, since these two actresses have become iconic for their respective roles. It’s hard to imagine either of them not being the incredible Katniss Everdeen or Tris Prior, and all fans can agree it all happened for a reason.
9 John C. Reilly (Haymitch Abernathy)
It’s honestly outrageous to think that anyone could have slayed the role of Haymitch as flawlessly as the brilliant Woody Harrelson, but apparently, he only got it because John C. Reilly turned down the role.
This versatile actor, known mostly for comedy, was the front-runner to take on the role of Katniss’ mentor. While he probably would have done well, fans are probably sighing in relief, because Harrelson truly nailed the role.
8 Alexander Ludwig (Peeta Mellark)
Fans are probably thinking, isn’t that guy in the movie? He is, but he plays the villainous and brutal District 2 character, Cato. However, Ludwig originally auditioned for the role of Peeta, and actually even made it to the final cut!
However, producer Gary Ross thought he was better suited for another role, and that Hutcherson should and the role of Peeta Mellark. In fact, the talented and lovable Liam Hemsworth also originally auditioned for Peeta, too, before being cast as Gale.
7 Garrett Hedlund (Finnick Odair)
Finnick Odair might be everyone’s biggest crush from this franchise, and Sam Claflin played the role in a perfectly charming manner. However, apparently he wasn’t even in the ‘final three’ talks, and snuck in after the director took a shine to him over the others.
Garrett Hedlund, Armie Hammer, and Taylor Kitsch were actually on the short list for the role. Hedlund was an interesting choice because he wasn’t as popular as the others, and honestly, has the same charm that fans expected from Finnick. Of course, it didn’t matter, because Claflin ended up on top.
6 Kaya Scodelario (Katniss Everdeen)
Scodelario auditioned and read for the part of Katniss Everdeen, and was apparently pretty distraught after losing the role – which she mentioned in a tweet. Ironically, much like Shailene Woodley, Scodelario ended up being the female lead in another teen dystopian drama, The Maze Runner.
Another totally popular series, Scodelario ended up doing okay. Honestly, fans were behind her being cast, but it’s still hard to imagine the role going to anyone but Jennifer Lawrence. Plus, Scodelario also nailed the role of Teresa in her own franchise.
5 Zoe Aggeliki (Johanna Mason)
Johanna Mason is the fierce and powerful Catching Fire character that is a bit over the top – but totally memorable. Jena Malone and Zoe Aggeliki were the final top contenders for this role. Aggeliki was an upcoming actress, set to star in Percy Jackson and R.I.P.D. with Ryan Reynolds.
However, this young star – who was set to sign on for the role – was just beat out by Jena Malone, who does nail the part. In a world of what could have been, though, Aggeliki also deserved her time in the spotlight and might have slayed it just as well.
4 Lucas Till (Peeta Mellark)
Lucas Till was a handsome young face that lots of people were just getting to know, and he was in producer Gary Ross’ final considerations for the role of Peeta Mellark. He was the heartthrob from Hannah Montana: The Movie, and actually also had a minor role in X-Men: First Class alongside Jennifer Lawrence.
Fans could actually probably envision this actor taking on the role, but it’s still impossible to see Peeta Mellark without thinking about Josh Hutcherson. Plus, Till went on to star in a television series in 2016.
3 David Henrie (Gale Hawthorne)
Wizards of Waverly Place and How I Met Your Mother alum, David Henrie, was in the final considerations for the role of Katniss’ best friend, Gale. The actors were about the same age and had all the same features, but apparently, it came down to their chemistry with Lawrence.
Since Jennifer Lawrence was cast first, the final guys had to audition alongside her. Clearly, Hemsworth came out on top, but David Henrie almost landed the role – which, would have been a whole different thing, despite his undeniable talents.
2 Kevin Durand (Brutus)
Kevin Durand starred in another teen drama book adaptation, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, in 2013, and was in talks to play Brutus for Catching Fire. He also played Fred Dukes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (ironically a franchise that Jennifer Lawrence is also a part of!).
However, the role of Brutus went to Bruno Gunn, who was known for his role in The Office. While Brutus wasn’t a huge role, die-hard fans know it well, and there was a lot of debate over who would score the part.
1 Hailee Steinfeld (Katniss Everdeen)
After Steinfeld’s Oscar-nominated performance for True Grit, the 14-year-old was certainly turning heads in Hollywood. There were a lot of actresses in the running for the role of Katniss, but rumor had it that Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence were the front-runners.
There was a whopping six years difference between these two, and would ultimately result in two very different performances. Of course, Lawrence came out on top, but Steinfeld moved on quickly in her own success.
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