Jennifer Lawrence Officially Cast in The Hunger Games Movie

The rumors have been swirling for weeks and this evening it finally became official. Per MTV, Lionsgate has cast Jennfier Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen in their Hunger Games movie adaptation.

It first started to look like Jennifer had a leg up on her competition when her mother made a remark about The Hunger Games books on the Academy Awards red carpet and the young actress quickly shut her up. Just a few days ago, a rumor broke that Jennifer was indeed Lionsgate’s frontrunner though a contract had yet to be offered.

Earlier today The Wrap reported that Jennifer was offered a deal to star in all three The Hunger Games films on Tuesday. Negotiations between the studio and Jennifer’s team stretched into Wednesday when the ink finally hit the paper.

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy has a large and faithful following who have been following this drawn out casting process for Katniss Everdeen that began last year. They’ve been quite vocal around the Internet in expressing concern over Jennifer’s age, a full four years older than the 16-year old Katniss in the books. By the time Jennifer films the third film in the trilogy, Mockingjay, she could be pushing 24 or 25 years old. I’m willing to bet none of these naysayers were present for Jennifer’s audition.

Any qualms raised by the fans about Jennifer’s age or appearance weren’t a factor when it came time to ultimately fill the Katniss role. Suzanne Collins used the words “beautiful, forgiving, powerful and vulnerable” to describe Jennifer in giving her thumbs up for the choice in a statement released via Lionsgate. She even called Jennifer the “perfect realization” of Katniss as she was imagined. Director Gary Ross says Jennifer is one of the few people alive who can convey the “tenderness, strength, power, depth and complexity” required to play Katniss and called it the “easiest casting decision he’s ever made.”

With Jennifer Lawrence finally officially set at Katniss, Lionsgate and Gary Ross must now turn their attention to a myriad of other roles that need filled in short order. One of the biggest is for Peeta, Katniss’ love interest, who all the late teen and 20-something actors are lining up to play.

Jennifer Lawrence will next be seen playing Mystique in X-Men: First Class this June. Her being cast in The Hunger Games might even boot X-Men ticket sales a little as The Hunger Games book fans will want to see their Katniss in action.

The first The Hunger Games film hits theaters on March 23, 2012.

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