Yesterday the first pictures of Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as Peeta and Gale hit the internet. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was revealed a few months ago, and I thought she looked great. Having seen Winter’s Bone I never really had any doubt that she’d make a great Katniss, but I was concerned about the casting of these boys. The first picture was them on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly.
My initial reaction was, “WHAT?! HORRIBLE! WHAT?! BAH, GROSS, THEY LOOK TERRIBLE, THAT’S NOT BLONDE, WHY ARE PEETA’S ARMS SO BIG?!”
Thirty seconds later I had calmed down enough to realize it was not horrible, and Gale actually looks pretty good. Definitely like he could be mistaken for a cousin of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss. But Josh’s hair is far from the Peeta-blonde I imagined, and I still think his arms are too big. I guess he is supposed to be strongish from tossing his baker daddy’s bags of flour around or something. I just don’t remember him being described that way, maybe because mostly the book focuses on how sensitive he is and how Katniss sees him as a weakness or a liability.
I think part of the reason the cover is so weird to me is that in real life Hutcherson is way shorter than Hemsworth, like nine inches shorter. To get this cover where they look roughly the same height, some trickery is involved. Maybe Hutcherson is standing a lot closer to the camera, and that’s partly why his arms looks so big (and Hemsworth, who is supposed to be the big muscular Gale, looks teeny tiny! With an itty bitty waist, even!) And what kind of a costume is that supposed to be for Peeta? Is that even a costume? He’s just wearing a t-shirt! Is this really a “first look” at Gale and Peeta or is it just the first look at the hair dye jobs on these guys? And the angsty faces, I guess…I just really don’t like Hutcherson’s face in this picture.
This is how I pictured Peeta while reading the books:
Anyway, later in the day I saw this picture:
And I thought, YES! Now THAT looks like Peeta. The boy with the bread. Looking at this I can absolutely picture him sneaking outside in the rain to give his hungry little crush some life-saving sustenance. Still not blonde, actually his hair looks even darker in this picture, but I love it. This is the closest I’ve come to getting excited about Hutcherson in this role. I know Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins keep saying that he’s amazing, that his audition blew them away, and that makes me feel better, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes yet. I hope when the trailer comes out and I get to see him deliver his lines then I will be totally on board. Peeta is definitely my favorite character. He’s so good! They have to get him right!
Finally, this picture of Katniss and Gale together in the woods confirmed my thoughts upon seeing the cover that Hemsworth was going to be great in this role. It looks perfect.
The funny thing is, when I read the books I am 100% team Peeta and I almost hate Gale, but looking at these pictures I totally love Gale and am squeamish and turned off by Peeta. I hope Hutcherson can deliver a really great performance that makes me change my mind back, otherwise, I might become team movie-Gale!
At least I don’t have to worry about Katniss. She’s the most important character to get right, for sure.