'The Hunger Games:' Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks confident fans will like movie

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 30 at 11:01 AM

PHOENIX -- It's the most anticipated movie since the last "Twilight" film -- “The Hunger Games.”

Based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, fans have been keeping a close eye on every development in the movie's production, starting with the casting. And they've been very vocal.

Jennifer Lawrence, who earned an Oscar nod for her role in “Winter’s Bone,” has signed on to play teen hero Katniss Everdeen. She was the first one cast.

Last April, it was announced that Liam Hemsworth (“The Last Song”) will play Gale Hawthorne, while Josh Hutcherson (“The Kids are All Right”) takes on the roles of Peeta Mellark.

The Internet lit up with comments and opinions about the casting decisions.

"It was really exiting to be part of something that has that big a following," Hutcherson said while doing interviews for "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."

Lawrence, Hemsworth and Hutcherson are the three points of the love triangle that's at the center of the story. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the government forces children to fight to the death for entertainment, she story revolves around Katniss, a 16-year-old girl who steps up to take her little sister’s place in the Hunger Games.

Peeta, whom Katniss knows from school, joins her in the arena. The pair develop a romance, but back home there is Gale, the boy with whom Katniss has a special connection.

Elizabeth Banks, most recently seen in "Man on a Ledge," plays Effie Trinket, the woman who escorts Katniss and Peeta from their home in District 12 to the Games.

"I really think we did right by the fans," Banks told "Good Morning! Arizona" producer Lisa Fuller Magee. "Suzanne Collins, who wrote the books, she was with us and blessed everything that we did. I know that we've done something that she's proud of."

"The Hunger Games" is the first book of a trilogy. It has sold more than 3 million copies and has been on the best-seller list for more than 100 consecutive weeks. The second and third books in the series are "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay."

The Hunger Games” movie is slated for a March 23.

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