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Playing: Effie Trinket
The comedic actress undergoes a dramatic transformation (hello, pink wig!) to play Katniss and Peeta's micro-managing escort in the movie version of Suzanne Collins's best-seller. "Effie has a really theatrical, over-the-top, completely not me look to her," Banks said of her. "I'm very excited for people to see my portrayal."
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Playing: Haymitch Abernathy
The former Cheers star plays the only Hunger Games victor from District 12, a brilliant strategist, but a boozy hot mess tasked with mentoring his home district's tributes Katniss and Peeta. "At first glance, there's all these things about him that aren't necessarily positive, but I think he's a deeper character than that and certainly does show more and more as the books progress," Harrelson told MTV of his character.
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Playing: Katniss Everdeen
She's skinned a squirrel for Winter's Bone, wore nothing but blue body paint in X-Men: First Class and nabbed a Best Actress Oscar nomination in 2011 – so playing heroine Katniss Everdeen is icing on the cake. "I love this story," Lawrence told EW, "and if I had said no, I would regret it every day."
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Playing: Peeta Mellark
From kiddie fare like Zathura and Journey 2 to critical faves like Little Manhattan and The Kids Are All Right, Hutcherson has worked as an actor for the last decade. But playing lovesick tribute Peeta will make him a blockbuster star. "People may get thrown, say, by the color of an actor's hair, or something physical," says author Collins. "But I tell you, if Josh had been bright purple and had six-foot wings and gave that audition, I'd have been like, 'Cast him!…He was that good."
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Playing: District 11 tribute Rue
After making her film debut in Colombiana, the 13-year-old actress sticks with action, playing the youngest tribute in the 74th Hunger Games, where her agile nature, tree-climbing skills and vulnerability earn her a position as Katniss's ally.
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Playing: Seneca Crane
Most known for playing a plastic bag aficionado in American Beauty, Bentley will tackle the role of the head gamemaker who's in charge of designing the lethal arena where Katniss, Peeta and the other tributes go head-to-head in the brutal battle to the death.
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Playing: Gale Hawthorne
The Aussie heartthrob' – and Miley Cyrus's boyfriend – will likely make fans swoon in his role as Katniss's BFF and hunting partner Gale. "On first glance he's such a hunk that it's easy to just sort of ascribe a hunk-like simplicity to him," says the film's director Gary Ross. "But this is a phenomenally subtle actor."
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Playing: Primrose Everdeen
The 11-year-old actress will make her film debut as Katniss's timid little sister, whose name is drawn as the female tribute for District 12 – prompting Katniss to defiantly take her place in the deadly arena.
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Playing: District 1 tribute Marvel
"I do something horrible to someone very small and cute, and then I have my ass handed to me immediately after," says Quaid – the 19-year-old son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid – of his feature film debut as the ruthless tribute.
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The rocker-turned-actor will play Katniss's stylist, who concocts her crowd-pleasing costumes (including her Opening Ceremonies ensemble).
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Playing: District 11 tribute Thresh
The Nigerian-born actor plays another tribute in the Hunger Games, who's from the same harvesting district as Katniss's ally Rue. "It's not Twilight where they have vampires and werewolves. Or Harry Potter where you have magic," the actor said. "These are real human beings put in real dire situations that aren't so far fetched from reality."
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Playing: Caesar Flickerman
To look like a head figure in Panem, the Devil Wears Prada star underwent quite the transformation to play the charismatic Games emcee. "We had a wig made, then I asked them to make me incredibly fake white teeth," Tucci told the U.K.'s Total Film magazine. "And he should look like he's had lots of plastic surgery so we pulled my face up with tape and he's very tanned and has eye make-up on – it's really, like, horrifying."
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Playing: District 2 tribute Cato
The Canadian actor, best known for his role in Race to Witch Mountain, plays Katniss's deadliest enemy in the Hunger Games – and will stop at nothing to be the victor.
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Playing: President Coriolanus Snow
The acting legend plays the tyrannical ruler of Panem who, as the series progresses, becomes agitated by Katniss's rebellious acts in his arena. "The script was given to me, and I wrote an extensive note to my representative, because I thought it was a beautiful script," Sutherland told Total Film magazine. "And it had the possibility to be the most influential film made in this country for many years."