'Hunger Games' casts Thresh and Rue -- EXCLUSIVE

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The Hunger Games adaptation has already found its District 12 tributes in Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) and Josh Hutcherson (Peeta). Now, Lionsgate has set its sights on District 11: EW has confirmed exclusively that the studio has cast Hollywood newcomers Dayo Okeniyi and Amandla Stenberg as Thresh and Rue in the adaptation of the Suzanne Collins trilogy, directed by Gary Ross. Okeniyi, playing the intimidatingly strong tribute, has appeared in a short called Eyes to See and an upcoming horror film, Slew Hampshire. Stenberg, who is on board as Katniss’ arena ally Rue, has roles in the September’s Colombiana and the telefilm Taste of Romance.

The Hunger Games is due to release March 23, 2012.

Desperate to find out who makes up the rest of the tribute cast? You can check the progress of Lionsgate’s casting via the studio’s Hunger Games Tributes Casting Tab on Facebook. (A sneak peek of what to expect below.) And to get a look at all characters cast so far, check out EW’s Hunger Games cast gallery.

Read more:
‘Hunger Games’ Central
Team ‘Hunger Games’ talks: Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross talk adaptation
‘The Hunger Games': Meet the Cast

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  • Eve

    I am just happy they didn’t cast Willow Smith!

    • Chelsea

      Oh god, same here.

      • M

        AMEN!!!!

      • OMG

        Double AMEN!

      • Mo

        Soo glad. Very happy that they also didn’t cast Jaden Smith, but you have to figure that Will and Jayda were pushing pretty hard for it….

      • dcmoviegirl

        @Mo

        Why would you have to figure that?

        They’ve never publicly mentioned anything about any interest in this project and have plenty of productions in the works themselves.

      • El Gigante

        This project would jeopardize Jaden and Willow’s “street cred.”

      • V

        WORD UP

      • ssck

        I KNOW YEAH!

    • Sam

      my thoughts exactly!

    • K

      Here here!

    • Rachel

      I thought for sure it was gonna be here. Glad I’m wrong!

      • kyle mcclaskey

        ur always wrong text me 740-9887439

    • adam

      Yeah, when I saw the picture on the home page, I thought it was Willow for a second.

      • dcmoviegirl

        Because all black people look alike.

        See Hollywood?? This is the mentality you’re partly responsible for.

      • Jenn

        Do you scan the internet, looking for things to be offended by? Just curious.

      • Petunia

        @dcmoviegirl: Actually, if you glance real quick, there IS a resemblance. Once you take a closer look, of course not. But people who look vaguely alike happens with ALL colors and creeds, so stop looking for things that aren’t there.

      • jk

        @dcmoviegirl: Oh, please, get over yourself. They look a little bit alike. It’s not always a race thing.

      • Brad H

        @dcmoviegirl … If you were trying to make a point I would suggest that the casting of Thresh as reactive to the fact that a lot of people were thinking that Katniss should have been played by a black or mixed girl.
        That being said… I think that casting an Oscar nominee brings immediate legitimacy to the project.

      • adam

        No, dcmoviegirl. They share a resemblance when taking a quick glance. It’s not that hard to see. Don’t try to project that racist bulls*** on me. Idiot.

      • dcmoviegirl

        Willow, hazel eyes, slightly dark brown skin, looks just like Will Smith.

        Amandla, dark brown eyes, slightly lighter brown skin, doen’s look like Will Smith at all.

        The only things they share are being little black girls with braids.

        Don’t get blame me because you think all black people look alike.

      • dcmoviegirl

        It’s also sadly typical that anyone pointing out race-problems is blamed for somehow causing it.

        Right, because the biggest problem here, is naming it.

        Also pointing out racism? Does not = calling you a racist.

      • jk

        Skin tone and eye color have very little to do with it. Their faces are very similar. You’re trying too hard. “Slightly dark skin” versus “slightly lighter brown skin” – you know you’re trying too hard and have nothing to back it up with.

      • adam

        dcmoviegirl, you’re insane. Go away. You’re pointing out the difference in their eye color. Do you think I looked at eye color? I said I took a quick glance at the picture. Stop trying to assume this nonsense about me that I think all black people look alike, you f***tard. You really are a moron.

      • lgirl

        seriously people it’s a book now a movie get over. It’s not about race or what these people look like it’s whether or not you liked the book. If you didn’t like it or haven’t even read , get off the computer and quit being a moron.

    • crispy

      I suspect Will Smith has far greater plans for each of his offspring than playing doomed minor characters.

      • Logen

        Then again, Willow Smith could do worse than appearing in what’s supposed to be the Next Big Thing.

      • kimmy

        they are too busy pumping out lame music.

        actually, i’m really surprised willow WASN’T cast.

      • HPotter

        Will Smith’s kids could do better than act out minor roles. They already have their own star vehicles in the works.

      • lamoviegirl

        @ crispy oviously they seem to have peaked ur intrest, because ur making comments on this site??? Don’t seem so minor to you

      • Valxoxo1

        Hunger games is awsome if racist people think it sucks then oh well then they think it suck, then they think it suck too bad

    • Sarah

      Word

    • Annie

      I was thinking the same thing! I was worried they were going to go with
      Willow. This young actress is very cute.

      • Heather P

        That was my thought. She’s so adorable.

      • Milli

        Yeah! I saw her and was like YAY! She looks likeable which is important, cause Rue’s so cute!

    • angela stenberg

      that’s because Amandla Stenberg is what’s in, watch out for this rising star

      • dcmoviegirl

        Oh, please. Like Hollywood would give her a chance to star in anything, especially if all the casting sheets for starring roles call for Caucasian only, like this one did.

        I bet you these two will be the only “minorities” in the movie who aren’t extras.

        If Hollywood continues it’s regular practices, she’ll mostly play black bff to the main white girl star.

      • idontgetyou

        @dcidiot what the heck is wrong with you? its because of people like you that people are racist in the first place! gtfo this site moron

      • dcmoviegirl

        The truth may hurt to hear, but it’s no less likely for having been aired honestly.

      • idontgetyou

        well you see, I am african american and frankly i am insulted to know that people like you are even allowed to talk. Hollywood is full of black stars and is continually becoming more diverse and if you cant see that then i guess you must be the first african american in the history of the universe to be able to distinguish skin tone.

      • dcmoviegirl

        It certainly is becoming more diverse, but that doesn’t make what I said any less likely.

        Also, never claimed to be the first, but for certain Willow and Amandla only “look alike” to people who cannot distinguish that or any other features on black people.

      • Melokesm

        I am thinking dcmoviegirl was in the mood to stir up some stuff on message boards tonight. Mission accomplished.. Crazy comments always get a lot of attention.

      • jane

        haha this makes me laugh! wow dcmoviegirl! why so dramatic! also being rascist against the law!!! arrest her!

      • lamoviegirl

        @ dcidiot u ought 2 b ashamed of urself bringing negativity about some kids, but hey thanx for ur time, don’t be mad cuz Amandla made it and u oviously want to b n her shoes.

      • Milli

        dcmoviegirl, people like you are the reason millions get killed in wars. Why not just build gas chambers and kill everyone you dont like, huh?

      • okokok

        The thing is dcmoviegirl has a valid point. There aren’t a lot of roles for people of color especially black women/girls. They are usually stuck playing highly stereotypical roles. Don’t be so naive and pretend racism doesn’t exist in Hollywood.

    • Kimberly

      that would have been the WORST!

    • Julia

      oh god that made me so happy!!!

      • Graffitis

        Hey Nuno, Bryan and Valerie great cert last weekend. Learned a ton and had a great time! I look frarowd to improving my run times/form etc and really look frarowd to passing this information on to our clients at Bayou City CF and Pin Up CF! Thank you!!!

    • Louise

      So relieved. Hooray for an unknown actor!

    • makena

      same here. i was holding my breath before i read who it was.

      • Makito

        Im in C right now and its a lot more skill based than A and B are. They are throwing in mulsce ups, snatches, all kinds of stuff that if you don’t have down will kill you. Just my 2 cents.

    • Myra

      See Lionsgate? It was so difficult to search for unknowns to play the characters instead of just playing a hollywood agenda? Too bad we didn’t get unknowns for the 3leads or at least Peeta and Gale leads but at least we got a choice that have all the fans pleased. Hope you reconsider and change Peeta.

      • AB

        Get over it. They aren’t going to reconsider when they’ve signed a contract and made announcements, started publicity, spent $, etc. What reality do you live in?

      • casting

        @AB: actually people have been fired or recast even when the have contracts and filming starts. Still keeping my fingers crossed that Josh Hutcherson gets thrown out for someone who actually looks like Peeta. There are pictures of Josh with VAnessa H. and boy just looks a hot mess. Pale, flabby, shorter than a shrimp, gross dark hair. This guy is going to be the face of the franchise? A totally joke.

      • lala

        Yeah who they have playing Peeta is too soft and not a good actor

      • Myra

        @casting. I saw those pictures too. I totally agree with you. That guy can’t be Peeta.

      • analily

        actually, Suzanne Collins actually said “Cast him! Cast him! I don’t care if he is purple and has wings! We can work around the wings!” don’t get mad at me please though for saying that, I don’t want to be like dcmoviegirl or whatever her name was…

    • Bruce L

      No; they just cast a Willow Smith doppelgänger.

      And since we all know exactly as much about this girl’s acting ability as we do about Willow’s — that is, nothing — it seems a little weird to be celebrating the non-happening of a casting choice that, to my knowledge, wasn’t even rumored.

      • dcmoviegirl

        Willow Smith and this girl don’t look alike.

      • jk

        Uh, yeah, they kind of do.

      • dcmoviegirl

        Yeah, they’re both black girls with braids, but other than that they do not have the same eye color, eye-shape, or even skin shade.

        Look again.

      • jk

        The whole point is that, at first glance, they look very similar, so “look again” really has no bearing on this situation. Also, race doesn’t have anything to do with it. Many white people who look alike don’t necessarily have the same eye color (come on, protesting that the girls’ eyes are super different is going overboard), but they might still have a similar look or even look every much alike. It’s not about race. You’re just looking for something to get upset about, and it’s honestly not helping the cause of African-American actors. How about celebrating the casting of these two kids instead of predicting doom for them?

      • jane

        :dcmoviegirl, i thought you said all black people look alike!

      • lamoviegirl

        This “dcmoviegirl has nothing better to do then rag on a 12 year old, but hey if u don’t have haters then u ain’t doin nothing so go Amandla already got haters @ a young age, and if u want to know more about Amandla u can google her

      • Valxoxo1

        I actually cried when rue died it was so sad

    • Ms. Chanandler Bong

      PREACH!

      • katrob

        ^ love the name.

      • Gio

        28/m/225Did floor press instead of bench bescaue I didn’t feel like setting up two bars and I thought it’d be a good challenge.11:38Today I am grateful to be 225, i used to be 280, way stronger and faster now! Thanks for the fun CFE!

    • Tricia

      I would have had to boycott the movie if they would have cast Willow Smith. That kid is so annoying. I’m glad they are unknowns.

    • Maya

      Oh, yes. My first thought as well.

    • Jasper

      That was my absolute first thought too! Poor Willow – she’s sure not feelin’ the love today.

    • Cheyanna Jones

      willow would have been perfect! idk y they didnt cast her

      • MoMo 22

        Becuz she doesn’t act

    • ADC

      AMEN!

    • funchingo

      I saw the headline and only clicked on the article to say the exact same thing!!!!

    • EG

      I totally agree!

    • Lia

      Lol, that’s exactly what I was thinking!

    • angie

      oh my god! I was just saying that same thing yesterday! Tired of those Pinckett-Smith kids!

  • Clare

    The savoring of the Tributes casting on a board like this, gives me an eery feeling that this is what a real Hunger Games would be like – with names flashing up as the districts are chosen.
    Is this a good thing?

    • Jen

      I thought the exact same thing. I found myself way too excited to find out who was next.
      Excellent marketing tool, though.

      • Tati

        GM ME: 115 2; 125 2; 135 2; 145 2; 155 1Not real comfy with GMs. Usually do RDLs instead. Could have maybe puhsed 2 reps on 155, but didn’t want to chance it.WOD: 5:50 with 135 power cleansUsed smith machine bar to do rows, start position was back about 2 inches from ground, only counted reps with chest to bar. Rows were the weak point by far. Power cleans and box jumps went smoothly.

    • Chelsea

      Yeah, I love it. Definitely a great way to get people excited about who will appear next.

    • Gina

      Given the way lots of people are savaging many of the actors without seeing their performances, it’s not that farfetched a comparison –

      • Emily

        I wish you weren’t right. People should just trust the producers to cast the right people for the roles and reserve any judgements, particularly on acting ability, until after the movie is out.

      • Jenn

        Seriously. They AUDITIONED.

    • Ren

      Read my mind, Clare! Gave me a chill, actually.

    • Luca

      Bingo. That is exactly the feeling they are going for.

    • jane

      i thought the same thing!

    • Milli

      You’re so right…creepy…

    • KatnissE

      It makes me feel sad that we’ll have to watch most of them die :(

  • Brandi

    Ahhhh this is exciting. She is exactly how I imagined Rue to be!

    • Emily

      Agreed, they both are. Now I’m going to be eagerly awaiting the rest of the tributes!

    • joblo

      I loved Rue. So sweet.

    • Mocha

      Same here–they are literally both what I pictured when I was reading the book. I’m so freaking excited for this movie!

      • jane

        FINALLY PEOPLE FINALLY HAVE FAITH IN SUZANNE AND HER CHOICES! I AM ALSO EXCITED FOR THE MOVIE! IT WILL BE EPIC!!

      • Milli

        Jane: YES! Agree completely! If she says their fine, they’re fine as far as I’m concerned.

  • Wayne

    I’m not complaining, but I don’t remember Thresh being black in the books. Is it something I just overlooked?

    • Susie

      Yes u did overlook that

    • Skylar

      They’re described as having darker skin…the director & author have confirmed that they are indeed supposed to be black.

    • Melvin

      Really, I always imagined that District 11 was predominately black. They did mention both Thresh, Rue and Chaff from Catching Fire as being dark skinned. Chaff’s tribute partner, however, had olive skin.

      • lefty

        as did Katniss….ugh.

      • Michael

        Aren’t there two colors of olives?

      • Michael

        Rue “has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin”

    • Jeanine

      Thresh is black in the books. Thresh and Rue were to two characters Suzanne Collins confirmed she gave strict stipulations for. This being that they are African American.

      • Wayne

        ok, I definitely overlooked it then. I do remember Rue being dark-skinned as well as others, but not Thresh. Thanks!

      • Myra

        Well not that we can trust that Suzanne Collins words lately because she tends to deny the words of her books. But at least in the book is very clear that they have dark brown skin.

    • dcmoviegirl

      Not your fault.

      White as the default and/or important human being you identify with in an ensemble is supported in the majority of mainstream media, unless it’s directed at minorities.

      In other words, they teach to imagine white people unless otherwise described…and even then, it doesn’t sink in, because of the proliferation of that defaulting.

      • Milli

        God. SHUT UP! PLEASE!!!! You’re like, Rachel Berry annoying on steroids!!!

      • okokok

        To a degree you are right. I think people have a tendency to imagine fictional characters to be of their own race without really thinking deeply about the matter.

      • MoMo 22

        Keep speaking ur mind no matter how many ppl tell u u sound crazy, which u do but urn right to a standard .

    • Liz Lemon

      Yes. Thresh and Rue are both black.

      • Juliaa

        ME Front Squat:10x 40kg, 10x 50kg, 6x 70kg, 3 75, and 1 attempt at 80 but with bad form (trouble kpieeng the arms parallel to the floor)WOD rxd: 5.19 min (scaled to self assisted handstand push up with feed on chair)Did my first cross triathlon 1,5 35MTB 12k in 3.31. Never MTB’d before so did pretty wel. 2 months preperation with CE

    • Milli

      I dont think it was specifically mentioned, but I think it was implied.

      • chelsea

        It was mentioned in the book when they were watching the recap of the reaping

  • Melinda

    I’m so glad they casted unknown people. Why couldn’t they do that from the beginning?

    • Myra

      I agree melinda. They finally got one right! Too bad we didn’t ge unknowns for the three leads or at least for Peeta and Gale.

  • sarah

    awww rue’s adorable. good choice.

    • angela stenberg

      thank you sarah isn’t she beautiful

    • jane

      YEAH! but i will cry so hard when she dies!!!!!

    • Idrissa

      Merci Patrick pour ce te9moignage e0 notre Seigneur Je9sus Christ. Le faite de pouvoir aelicutrr les phases de ta vie nouvelle et la re9alisation du moment de ta nouvelle naissance non seulement confirme ce que le Seigneur me re9ve8le mais aussi met en lumie8re cette phase crucial qui est comme tu la de9crita0: aba0C’e9tait pour arriver e0 cette finalite9, que DIEU dans sa grande mise9ricorde avait permis que toutes ces choses se soient passe9es apre8s ma repentance since8re, pendant ce temps de vie sous Sa Loi selon la lettre, environ douze ans apre8s, afin de me faire parvenir e0 la Vie Nouvelle lors de ma conversion par le Seigneur Jc9SUS, l’ESPRIT.a0bbPour ma part, meame si le Seigneur Je9sus, par Son Esprit Saint me donna des re9ve9lations sur le meame sujet lors d’un voyage aba0missionnairea0bb, je suis reste9 dans cette phase de vie sous Sa Loi selon la lettre, et bien anesthe9sie par les doctrines des diffe9rentes organisations religieuses e9vange9liques pendant plus de 20 ans jusqu’au jour ou le Seigneur m’a fait comprendre Sa Parole qui nous avait appele9 e0 Son service (moi et mon e9pouse avec une mission) et nous disaient aba0Sortez-ena0!a0bb Cela pris du temps.J’ai encore bien des difficulte9s e0 te9moigner avec les personnes religieuses qui semblent avoir fait leur choix sans penser que certaines de mes expe9riences sont des perles qui ne peuvent pas eatre partage9es avec n’importe qui. Mat 7,6 et Mat 13,13-15Paix soit e0 vous tous qui eates en Christ!

  • Felix

    Hello, girl-who-is-not-Willow-Smith. I think we’re going to get along just fine.

    • jane

      haha same here!

  • AnaB

    PERFECT! =)

  • Heather

    Exactly how I imagined Rue. Great casting choice and I love the way they are doing the reveals. Can’t wait!

  • Abby

    Perfect Rue casting! Perfect!

  • crispy

    Wow, I guess it never occurred to me until looking at these pictures, but noble black characters sacrificing themselves to save the white protagonists… that’s not going to sit well with a lot of people. Bad Hollywood cliche alert!

    • Semalina

      Neither of them sacrificed themselves to save anybody…

      • crispy

        Maybe sacrifice is a strong word, but Rue most definitely dies helping Katniss.

    • Jackie

      Except in this case where this is what happened in the book, so it’s not Hollywood’s cliché.

      • crispy

        Except that in the book Katniss and other residents of District 12 aren’t exactly caucasian. I thought Suzanne Collins’ take on race was pretty compelling. But the casting of lily white actors to play Katniss and Peeta does make it a Hollywood race cliche.

      • Logen

        Well Peeta is supposed to be blonde and blue eyed. Katniss, I have to admit was an unexpected choice, but if the actress is so “perfect for the role”…

      • Leslie

        Why do you think they were not Caucasian? Olive-skinned people are caucasians (Italian, Greek, etc). All olive-skinned means is 1) you can tan and 2) when you aren’t tan, your skin has a greenish undertone.

      • crispy

        You can’t be serious? The basic premise of the series is that 200 years in the future (or whenever it takes place, I don’t believe it’s specified), most everyone is of mixed race.

    • Pikko

      Rue dies while helping her team of her and Katniss. Thresh dies from Cato and Katniss never had a chance to do him in, even after he let her go. Neither of them sacrificed themselves for her.

      • dcmoviegirl

        But they do die, which is typical.
        Disposable minorities.

        White leads live on.

      • jane

        seriously dcmoviegirl! why so racist! i wish ii was black!

      • lamoviegirl

        Dcidiot seriously get a life, and stop hatin on these kids. U r seriously pathetic. Got get a job, or read a book

      • Milli

        Ok, listen to yourself. The majority of the people who die in the Hunger Games are white…what does that tell you? And also, they’re fictional, so jeez, stop taking it so seriously.

      • ina

        dcmoviegirl- why are you so racist against white people? Get over it already and just shut up.
        and people say only white people are racist bull sh**. your not helping the black community much.

      • okokok

        I don’t think she’s being racist against whites people, just tired of seeing Hollywood portraying minorities in such a stereotypical manner. It’s easy for someone who is not a minority to completely ignore this and say “you’re being racist against white people” when someone tries to challenge Hollywood’s standards.

      • MoMo 22

        She’s right though so stop putting Girl down we all have a right to be up here like anyone else.

    • okokok

      I don’t see this trope going away anytime soon. Hollywood thrives on cliches and stereotypes.

      • MoMo 22

        Yes i agree light skin and skinny if u got that ur in.

    • Dazz

      Wonderful blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any fomurs that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get responses from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

      • Palwinder

        ME GM: worked up to 205 2 (first time rlaley going heavy with these)WoD: rx’d w/ 185lb cleans 5:04recover 10min then tabata row 900+m I can’t remember the exact distance coveredUsually I would run and separate the endurance wod but did not have time today. I rowed because I have not rowed hard in while.

  • Rachel

    They’re both so… perfect.

    • Karissa

      Yes yes yes yes yes.

  • Rachel

    I love them so much. What I really want now is a full body shot of the two.

  • Liz

    Love it! I just want to know who will play Glimmer, Cato and Clove. I hope they get it right. What about Haymitch and Prim?

    • elcamino

      Leven Rambin has gotten the Glimmer part.I would expect Clove and Cato by the end of the week.

  • Trista

    Agreed, PERFECT!!! I, too, am thankful they did not cast Willow Smith. This girl looks exactly as I pictured Rue, and Dayo has that scary look to him that will make him perfect for the intimidating Thresh.

    • HuNgErGaMeSfAn

      I totally agree!

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