Who Should Play Haymitch in The Hunger Games?
With Lionsgate milking its casting announcement roll-out as much as possible (today's news: All My Children's Leven Rambin and Meg Ryan/Dennis Quaid progeny Jack Quaid are your new District 1 tributes, Glimmer and Marvel!) it's time to play the speculation game with one of the series' most important supporting characters: Haymitch. Which veteran actors could fill the Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic mentor's shoes?
The House star is a running favorite among fans of the books and would make an ideal Haymitch -- surly, bitter, broken by life but not irredeemable as the only lifeline Katniss and Peeta have on the outside. The bad news: Laurie might not be available for the role even if he was to get it.
Robert Downey, Jr.
RDJ's another fave, thanks to his dry wit and ability to engender audience sympathy even when he's at his worst. And the abject horror of having lived through the Games himself would register in those deep, sad, soulful eyes. But could Downey Jr. fit the bill of the "paunchy" Haymitch while in his Iron Man/Sherlock Holmes shape?
Jack Black's comic skills could give the heavy subject matter of The Hunger Games a necessary levity, and goodness knows Black's career could use a change of pace. At 41, Black is also around the right age to play Haymitch, who won the Games 24 years prior.
The Bearded One would make an admittedly strange Haymitch, but so many of the right elements are there: He's technically about the right age, is kind of great when he hits unexpected dramatic notes, and would make Haymitch's fall-down drunk scenes at once sad, hilarious, and wonderfully uncomfortable.
Loose cannon unpredictability? Check. Possessed of a deeply-felt bitterness that turns into near-poetic wisdom in unexpected moments? Yep. The ability to portray a man with out of control substance abuse problems struggling to rein in his personal demons? Yeah, he might be able to pull it off.
Have other suggestions for who should/could play Haymitch in The Hunger Games? Leave 'em below. Bragging rights to anyone who guesses correctly once Lionsgate unveils its casting choice.