'The Hunger Games' finally gets its Haymitch: Woody Harrelson


Image Credit: Paul Morigi/WireImage.com

At long last, The Hunger Games‘ director Gary Ross has found his Haymitch Abernathy: Actor Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, 2012) will play the crucial role of the only living resident of District 12 ever to win the titular to-the-death games and the mentor to current District 12 tributes Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Initially a burnt-out drunk, Haymitch ultimately begins to see to Katniss and Peeta as his poverty-stricken district’s best hope for winning the games.

“Haymitch is such an unforgettable character: funny cranky outrageous, sarcastic, impatient, biting but ultimately kind,” Ross said in a statement. “I’m so grateful we have Woody Harrelson to play him. I can’t wait for us to get to work.”

Harrelson joins Lawrence, Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, and Stanley Tucci in the highly anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling thriller. The production will officially start this month, and is due in theaters March 23, 2012.

Read more:
‘Hunger Games’ Central
‘Hunger Games’ casts unknowns for tributes. Why this is a smart strategy.
‘The Hunger Games’: Meet the Cast

Comments (140 total) Add your comment
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  • Keaton

    Had my heart set on Robert Downey jr or Hugh Laurie… But I actually really like this casting choice!!

    • Rachel

      I agree. I think RDJ would’ve been perfect, but I think Woody will do a good job.

      • RL

        still want RDJ!!!:( but i think woody will be fantastic!

      • lover

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      • marina

        I wanted RDJ too! This guy is ok but I hope they will dye his hair or give him some.
        I still can’t get over Katniss and Peeta and Gale no matter how much spray tan and hair dye they wear.

        I like all the casting choices but them.

    • Lunna


    • kate middleton

      Yes, RDJ would have been good – but I don’t think that ever could have happened since he’s doing Avengers now, and will be doing Iron Man 3 next. Plus, he would cost too much.

      • Rachel

        Kate, you’re supposed to be on your honeymoon.

      • kate middleton

        Gotta stay up on my Hunger Games news, even while on honeymoon!

      • sammie 66

        William is going bald and impotent. Kate needs something to distract her from her sexless new marriage. Remember Kate, the palace still expects an heir so you best call up Harry to drop bye and “visit his brother”. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

        P.S. happy with woody as Haymitch. He looks like a guy who was once very attractive. Plus woody is a great actor. total win.

    • Brie

      Totally, Robert Downey, Jr. would have rocked it. But, I love Woody Harrelson for this role, too.

    • allie

      Those were EXACTLY the two people I thought it would be between. Not sure how I feel about Woody in this role. I keep seeing him as Grace’s slacker bf on Will and Grace. Ugh.

      • Mo

        Watch The Messenger. He was great in it and was nominated for an Oscar for it, and the character shares a lot of traits with Haymitch.

    • the real wendy

      I was hoping for harvey Keitel or Mickey Rourke!!


        Ooohhh… I would’ve loved to see Harvey Keitel

        OR Philip Seymour Hoffman!

      • Cat

        Rourke would have been awesome.

      • mrsm

        they are too old

      • Stacie

        Keitel, totally. I always pictured Haymitch a Rod Steiger type, so it’s going to take some time for me to get used to Woody Harrelson in the role.

      • Luan

        Trisha,Please read the books. I don’t know what your tastes are in fiotcin, but the Hunger Games trilogy is one of the best series in recent memory.Well, maybe that’s too much praise, but at least take a look. Hollywood has to please just about everyone in their adaptations, and I believe that can be a detriment.It’s a lot more rewarding, in my opinion, to let the world an author creates come alive through your own imagination, rather than a filmmakers.

    • Flip

      Never saw this coming, but I approve!!!

    • mwa

      yey! what a suprise and i’m actually happy about it

    • myra

      Myra Arellano
      Who will they cast as buttercup?
      a) a very old geriatric cat that is also a great actor because after all in movies and tv old cats always play kittens.
      b) a red or black cat with acting experience and awards nominations because after all color is not important they will dye its hair and acting is more important. Plus it’s impossible to cast a yellow cat that also has acting talent.
      c) a black old cat that became famous not because his acting but its singing but had a 5 minute role in a movie and gary ross liked his acting.
      d) Cate blanchet! She is an oscar winner actress and because of that she can pull off anything. If you don’t think she is the right one watch all of her previous movies. She even played BOB DYLAN!
      e) a yellow mashed-in nose,half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squad.
      f) a squirrel or a dog because there is one thing called makeup and there’s also Hollywood magic.
      G)None of the above they will just cut out Buttercup because he is a minor role.

  • Cat

    Yuck! What an unfortunate choice. RDJ or Timonthy Spall would have been much better choices.

    • Linda

      Timothy Spall is a great actor but IMO would have been a TERRIBLE choice for Haymitch.

      • Joan

        Enjoyable first podcast. As for the whole long-distance thing, I wasn’t iknolog for anyone, but could not ignore the woman who is now my partner. We’ve been doing the Utah-Manhattan thing for four and a half years now. We go back and forth, do destination trips together (U.K., China, Mexico), and hope to live together next year.Well done.

  • chocolateislove

    Yes! Woody Harrelson is perfect! He stole every scene in Zombieland and is just tailor-made for Haymitch.

    • Liz

      If you have ever seen the messenger you know he is PERFECT for this role. I actually considered him when I read the book. He has this whole who gives a sh@t attitude. Now I’m really excited this movie is going to be EPIC!!

      • E

        I would never have guessed this, but I think it could be terrific. He was amazing in The Messenger and you’re right, you can see that he could be Haymitch from what he did there.

      • DK

        That movie made me cry. He is going to be perfect

  • Dusty

    Man…i was attached to John C. Riley.

    • kate middleton

      Me too – I am bummed it isn’t John. But I think Woody is a decent option.

    • Chelsea

      Nah, John C. Reilly would’ve been all wrong. He’s a great actor, but I definitely wouldn’t buy that he was once a great, fierce tribute. I wanted RDJ, but Woody will be fine.

    • steph

      I agree. I REALLY wanted John C. Riley to get the part. But I knew once I gave him my support, it was doomed!

      • Mo

        Guys, if you like him so much, you should spell his last name right… it’s Reilly.

  • Crystal

    one of the few I’ve agreed with! Am I correct that Cinna hasn’t been announced yet?

    • kate middleton

      Yeah, Cinna, Snow, Cato and Clove are the only real ones left. Also, there hasn’t been a Madge, but I think there was talk that Madge might be omitted.

      • Melissa

        That’s sad. I don’t know why they would omit Madge when she’s the one who gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin.

      • anna

        I agree, Melissa. Madge is really the accidental catalyst to the entire series – she gave Katniss the pin that ends up defining the entire movement. And the pin was the one that belonged to her mother, which is an important story line in the second/third book. If she wouldn’t have given her the pin, then Rue wouldn’t have trusted her, and so on. I guess they could have Haymitch give it to her, but I think Madge is much more important.

      • haleysname

        I’ve heard a rumor that Cillian Murphy was maybe being thought about for Cinna, I think he’d be good in that role, I can’t really think of anyone else.

      • kate middleton

        Melissa and Anna – The omission of Madge was from the leaked script a month or so ago. There was a lot of talk about whether or not that script was a fake, and some people have speculated it was the original first draft by Billy Ray, which has been revamped a lot by Suzanne and Gary Ross. I really do hope Madge is in it, because I really like the aspect of the mockingjay pin coming from Maysilee and the connection to Haymitch and Katniss’s mom as well.

      • elcamino

        My guess is Ian Somerhalder. On his twiiter he has gotten a bunch of the casted tributes as followers. Lenny Kravitz is left from the rumored cast. Him as Flavius. I’m sure if that he will want Stephanie Hunt(Friday Night Lights) as Octavia. She is a friend of Zoe’s. I did have her as Johanna but now see her as Octavia with Lenny.

  • ZR

    earlier today i was dying to know who was going to play haymitch but now that know i am a little disappointed. dont really like woody as haymitch, but hopefully he will grow on me like j.law did

    • ZR

      now that i am thinking about it and trying to picture it i am not hating the idea anymore, i wanted john c. but woody is already growing on me.

  • kate middleton

    I really wanted John C. Reilly, but I think Woody will do a good job.

    I always picture him as his character on Cheers – naive, airhead. But I know he’s a decent actor.

    • Mo

      Too few people have watched The Messenger, which is a very good, very moving movie, where Woody played a soldier assigned to notify the families of fallen soldiers about their deaths. He has to mentor a younger man on proper procedure and how to maintain his distance from the families’ pain, while wrestling with his conscience and his alcoholism. He also kicks a little ass in this movie. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his great work in it. Please watch it and tell me that he won’t make a great Haymitch.

      • kate middleton

        I will definitely check out The Messenger if it comes on HBO – thanks for the recommendation. Sounds a bit similar to Taking Chance, which was heartwrenching and amazingly well done.

  • Ralphie

    Told ya!!! While I loved the idea of John C, I think Woody is also an underappreciated actor. He will also do everything in his power to do justice to a character. He will BE Haymitch.

    Great choice!

  • MTP

    Great choice!!! He will BE Haymitch…

  • Brie

    I love it. This is my favorite casting so far.

    • Linda

      Mine too!

  • Auds


    • LaLoLa


    • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

      I agree. FAIL.

  • Nan

    Is anyone else picturing his character in King Pin? (minus the plastic hand). Handsome and successful in his youth, but a burned-out drunk in his later years. I can totally see him in this role. My favorite casting choice thus far (along with Stanley Tucci).

    • Heather

      Ditto. I can see him being good in the role, just not what i pictured.

      • Jahlin

        Never would have thunk I would find this so idnipessnable.

  • Lisa

    BOOOO!!!! BAD CASTING! I think all the studios who adapt books into movies should have fan focus groups to see who the fans really want to play certain characters or at least allow fan input. If that would have happened Kristen Steward wouldn’t have been a horrible Bella lol.

    • kate middleton

      They’ll never please everyone though. Woody isn’t my first choice, but I think he will do well.
      Agree that Kristen Stewart sucks though!

      • hgfanchick

        Look, Kate’s right. Besides, if you’ve ever seen Zombieland, you know Woody is a really awesome actor. BTW, Kristen Stewart can kiss my crack. Kristen, if you ever read this, you are a really sucky actress.

    • Jason

      Wrong – this is good casting. Didn’t think of Woody, but I can DEFINITELY see this working.

      Fan focus groups for casting? We’d end up with MORE Kristen Stewarts and Robert Pattinsons because the “fans” would be teenagers who don’t know WHAT they want. We’d have ended up with Zac Efron as Haymitch if that’s how this was done!

      • TiffV

        No–Zac Efron should be Finnick in the 2nd movie.

      • Jessica

        Totally zac effron should be finnick in second movie. Then, in the third movie I can watch him die!!!!!

    • SMW

      Ya if that had happened we would be stuck with Kristen Steward playing Kitness

      • canaussiegirl

        What movie is Kitness in? If you are going to insult someone, at least learn how to use spellcheck…..

    • Courtney

      Really? I could do without all the children focusing purely on hair and eye color.

      Twilight (and K Stewart) is what happens when looks are more important than acting abilities.

      • kate middleton

        Very true. Hair and eye color can be changed.
        I think it’s great that Suzanne Collins is really involved in the movie – I think it will be very well done and true to the important aspects of the book. But some change is inevitable.

      • Jessica

        So true *sigh* no good actors/actresses anymore

  • Allie

    I wanted Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Laurie, but Woody’s a decent choice. RDJ would have been too hard to get anyways.

    • kate middleton

      Yeah, and way too expensive. He makes like $30 million a picture.

  • googie

    excellent choice!

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