Zoey Deutch Recalls 'Painful' Audition for Katniss in 'The Hunger Games' : It Was 'Tough'

Zoey Deutch "knew" she didn't get the part of Katniss in The Hunger Games "because in the screen test, he was like, 'Why don't you read this other part?' "

Zoey Deutch, Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games - Mockingjay - Part 1
Zoey Deutch; Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty; Murray Close/Color Force/Lionsgate/Kobal/Shutterstock

When it came to landing the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, the odds were not in Zoey Deutch's favor.

The Not Okay actress, 27, recently opened up on the Lights, Camera, Barstool podcast about auditioning for the part that famously went to Jennifer Lawrence, saying it's the role she's most disappointed about having missed out on.

"I screen tested for Katniss but knew I didn't get it because in the screen test, he was like, 'Why don't you read this other part?' " she said, laughing. "Literally. But, yeah, that one was a little painful."

Based on the young-adult dystopian book series of the same name by Suzanne Collins, the first four Hunger Games films broke box-office records from 2012 through 2015, earning more than $3 billion worldwide.

Aside from Lawrence, 31, the series starred Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Julianne Moore and more.

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A prequel film — The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, based on Collins' 2020 book — is currently in the works and set for a theatrical release on Nov. 17, 2023. Among the cast announced so far are Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer and Peter Dinklage.

The Ballad follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (played by Sutherland, 87, in the original series and in the new film by Blyth), who would eventually rise to become the tyrannical president of the dystopian nation of Panem, and the main villain of the Hunger Games series.

Zegler, 21, shared the new of her casting on social media in May, as well as a pair of snapshots of herself on the phone at a restaurant looking excited, which she captioned, "Photos from when i found out it was happening and it was real."

The West Side Story actress is set to take on the role of Lucy Gray Baird, the female lead in The Ballad opposite Blyth's Snow.

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Among the actresses who also auditioned for Katniss in the original Hunger Games films are Brie Larson, as well as Shailene Woodley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts and Saoirse Ronan, according to Fandango.

On the Lights, Camera, Barstool podcast, Deutch also recalled being onstage at a recent awards show where she presented an honor for best limited series, "and every single one that was nominated, I had auditioned [for] and not gotten."

"During the pandemic, there were only, like, four projects that I auditioned for that I really wanted. And all four of them, I was like, 'And the award goes to … ' " the Set It Up actress said.

"I wanted to be like, 'And the award doesn't go to [me]. Don't worry, if you lose, I lost too. I didn't get any of these parts!' " Deutch added.

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