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The Hunger Games cast and characters — who is in the dystopian movies?

The Hunger Games cast list is meaty with lots of top talent and big names, so here are all the characters in the dystopian movies as well as who plays them.

The Hunger Games cast and characters: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh hutcherson as Peeta Mellark

Who is in The Hunger Games cast? The Hunger Games is one of the most successful dystopian franchises of all time, with the YA movies still firm favourites after the YA adaptation bubble of the 2010s burst.

The Hunger Games movies are the best of the best when it comes to this particular flavour of fiction. Many tried to follow in their footsteps, but few managed to amass a following or compel audiences as these political fight-to-the-death adventures did.

And when it comes to The Hunger Games cast, there’s plenty of recognisable talent. So, ahead of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes release date, here’s a recap of the franchise’s top victors (and victims).

The Hunger Games cast list:

  • Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
  • Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
  • Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
  • Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
  • Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
  • Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
  • Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
  • Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
  • Jeffrey Wright as Beetee Latier
  • Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin

Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow

Industry veteran Donald Sutherland is President Snow, the calculated, regal villain of the film series. President Snow resided at the Capitol, where he maintained political power over the 13 districts. It’s Snow’s vendetta against underdog Katniss that is the driving force behind the events of the movies, particularly after she becomes a symbol of rebellion.

Sutherland’s six-decades-plus career can’t be summed up with a little bow easily, this is a man who has been nominated for nine Golden Globes, after all. The Canadian is best known outside of The Hunger Games for 1970’s M*A*S*H, one of the best romance movies in Pride and Prejudice, and more recently the cerebral Ad Astra.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

A hero who needs no introduction, Katniss Everdeen is one of the best female characters of her ilk. A vehicle for the impact of trauma and war on young people, Katniss is a hunter trying to make ends meet when she selflessly volunteers as tribute in the place of her younger sister. Katniss strategically wins her first Games and becomes a symbol of resistance against the Capitol: The Mockingjay.

Too often boiled down to her love triangle, Jennifer Lawrence brought much more to the role than romantic chemistry. Lawrence is one of the most successful actresses of her time and is back following a break after smartly realising she had perhaps been over-exposed.

Her comeback was in Apple TV PlusCauseway, where she portrayed a lesbian army veteran learning to reintegrate. Her new movie is No Hard Feelings, opening in June 2023.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark

Peeta Mellark is the franchise’s softy — a kind-hearted boy who would rather camouflage himself than fight. Peeta’s name is drawn at the same time as Katniss, and their fates are intertwined from that point on, eventually developing into a romance.

Josh Hutcherson was already a well-known name before being cast as Peeta, he had been in the heartbreaking kids movie Bridge to Terabithia and the 2000s babysitter staple Zathura: A Space Adventure. From 2017-2020, he starred in Seth Rogen‘s comedy series Future Man on Hulu.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games

Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne

Gale was one of the sides of the aforementioned love triangle, and a rather dull part of the movies. To be fair though, he quite often seemed the better fit for Katniss as her long-time childhood friend, although that might be controversial to say. Eventually, he gets a bit pissy and starts making some questionable choices.

Liam Hemsworth starred as Gale, and you’re about to see much more of him as he joins The Witcher for its fourth season post-Henry Cavill as the fantasy series hopes to survive without him. Netflix picked the second most famous Hemsworth brother, but he’s got a filmography of his own with projects like Isn’t It Romantic.

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy

Haymitch is often the comedic relief, but underpinning his jokes and slurred words is his depression after winning the Games himself prior to being charged with preparing Peeta and Katniss. At first, he’s an unwilling mentor, but he catches feelings when he sees potential in Katniss and ultimately is with them till the end of the story.

Woody Harrelson brings him to life and rightfully gets a lot of praise from fans for bringing one of the best performances to the movies. You’ve probably seen Harrelson in True Detective, Zombieland, or the 2023 TV series White House Plumbers.

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket

Effie is more comedic relief but has a different flavour. While Haymitch is cynical and depressed, Effie tries frantically to keep things light with a transparent veneer of excitement about the Games — and all the fashion that comes with them. The costume design shines with her, and she evolves way more than you’d suspect from how she acts in the first movie.

Elizabeth Banks turned in a performance that probably shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Starting out in comedy, Banks is more often behind the camera now and directed the rebooted Charlie’s Angels and Cocaine Bear.

Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen in The Hunger Games

Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen

Primrose is a catalyst: if it weren’t for Katniss’ desire to save her, we wouldn’t have a story. Prim is often an added element of sensitivity and the motivation behind most of what Katniss does, not her romantic connections. Prim is killed off in shocking fashion in Mockingjay: Part 2, ultimately representing the waste of life that comes with conflict, and how Katniss’ personal sacrifice was meaningless.

Willow Shields did a great job, starting the series as a teenager and growing into her role. Now in her early 20s, the American actor has been in a steady flow of drama movies, most recently 2022’s When Time Got Louder.

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair

Oh, Finnick. You at first seemed like a douchebag, but quickly became a fan-favourite who made many a teenager cry when you bit the dust. Finnick was introduced in the best The Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, as a previous winner. He teams up with Peeta and Katniss and later joins the rebellion, angry about everything that happened to him.

British heartthrob Sam Claflin made his big-screen debut in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 2011. 2023 is Claflin’s year, though, with the well-received TV adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and The Six on Amazon Prime going down a treat.

Jena Malone as Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games

Jena Malone as Johanna Mason

We might be biased, but Johanna is the quiet MVP when it comes to The Hunger Games’ supporting characters. Although, she herself is not very quiet. Taking a vengeful, rage-heavy approach to the war on the capitol, Johanna is one of the only victors who publicly lash out at Snow. She’s feisty, and an ally to the resistance, but also has a more secretive side to her born from how she’s been screwed over.

Jena Malone has been working since her early years, and a couple of her movies are on our best movies of all time list, including Donnie Darko. If you’re looking for an introduction though, go for her rock ‘n’ roll work in Sucker Punch or her understated performance in Lovesong — a hidden gem.

Jeffrey Wright as Beetee Latier in The Hunger Games

Jeffrey Wright as Beetee Latier

Beetee is an extremely intelligent inventor who won the games with his wife. When they’re forced back into the games, his ingenuity helps his allies rig a way out for Katniss. He maintains a presence after, helping the rebellion.

Jeffrey Wright is well known for his stint on Westworld. But if you weren’t under a rock in 2022, perhaps you caught him as Detective Gordon in The Batman, the best DCU movie in some time. We were meant to be getting a Gotham PD TV series, but that has now been reworked into an Arkham Asylum show, where we expect Wright to appear again.

Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin

President Coin was the anti-Snow, but as we learned in the final movie, that wasn’t wholly positive for Panem. Coin initially seemed a democratic alternative to Snow’s rule, and spearheaded the more organised side of the insurrection that took place.

Katniss concluded Coin, due to the innocent lives she was willing to sacrifice to win, was not a suitable leader, and assassinated her. Mockingjay 2 was not a great movie, but you could hear a pin drop at that moment in cinemas.

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Those are the biggest stars of the franchise; find out how to watch The Hunger Games if you fancy revisiting it.

Or check out the best fantasy movies, best science-fiction movies, and our thoughts on The Hunger Games renaissance.