Woody Harrelson had to be persuaded to accept his role in The Hunger Games

The hunger Games Director Gary Ross said some stars were easier to get into the film than others, and one actor in particular needed a bit more convincing before agreeing to sign on.

Speaking to THR, Ross explained that some actors were ready to sign on to adapt Suzanne Collins’ novel almost without reading the script, but others needed to be persuaded to participate. “Wooded [Harrelson] actually passed the role at first,” Ross explained. “And I had to call him to convince him. He always thanks me all the time, when really, I should be thanking him – he was so great in the role.

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Harrelson played Haymitch Abernathy, the alcoholic and depressed mentor of protagonist Katniss Everdeen who prepares her for the Hunger Games. Her role in the film, released 10 years ago, was one of many memorable performances, as Harrelson appeared alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Lenny Kravitz. Gary Ross chose not to return to direct subsequent sequels.

The hunger Games was a trilogy of books adapted into four films, released year after year between 2012 and 2015. The book series was so successful that it spawned a prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents, which sold 500,000 copies in its first week despite being released in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when bookstores were closed or scaled back across the country.

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Plans were already in place for a film adaptation of the prequel even before the novel was released. Francis Lawrence, who directed all but the very first hunger games movie, is set to return to direct the prequel. The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents tells the story of Coriolanus Snow, the antagonist of the original hunger games trilogy, when he was younger and made a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games tributes.

The hunger Games wasn’t the only time Harrelson turned down a role only to change his mind about it. A few years ago, the actor confessed to turning down the film Solo when he was first offered the role in star wars prequel, prompting producer Allison Shearmur to entice him to take the role. Likewise, Andy Serkis had to convince Harrelson to voice Carnage in Venom: let there be carnage in addition to his other role as Cletus Kasaday.

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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