Amandla Stenberg And Dayo Okeniyi Cast As Rue And Thresh In The Hunger Games
Technically the three leads of The Hunger Games are set, with Jennifer Lawrence starring as the fearless warrior Katniss and Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as her two significant love interests Peeta and Gale, respectively. But in the first movie, which is set for release on March 23 next year, Gale isn't likely to be onscreen much at all, so casting of some of the secondary roles is going to wind up being much more important.
According to EW two more actors have been added to the Hunger Games, and one of them is a key supporting role. Newcomers Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi will be playing Rue and Thresh, the tributes from District 11 sent to fight in the titular games, a fight to the death among adolescents from all over the fictional country of Panem. Katniss and Peeta are the tributes from District 12, and though they eventually spark an alliance and even a romance, Katniss initially teams up with Rue, a young girl with surprising survival skills. Thresh is strong and terrifying and viewed by Katniss, and everyone else, as a fierce adversary.
Issues of race in The Hunger Games have come up time and time again in the casting process, especially among fans who believed Katniss was described as deliberately ethnically ambiguous by the book's author Suzanne Collins; by casting blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, the producers seemed to be avoiding any possibility for forward-thinking, color-blind casting. So it's great to see them cast two African-American actors as Rue and Thresh-- in the book they're described as having dark skin and eyes, but of course they could have easily fudged that in the casting process.
Though Thresh is a fairly minor, mostly physical role in the book, Rue is a demanding character, and Stenberg will have to be both battle-ready and capable of depicting a tight bond with Katniss even with all the action going on around them. Stenberg has yet to be seen onscreen but has two roles coming up, in the action thriller Colombiana and the TV film Taste of Romance; The Hunger Games, if it turns out well, ought to be an excellent showcase for the young actress's talents.
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