Talkback: How Do You Feel About John C. Reilly as Haymitch in The Hunger Games?
Hot on the heels of today's confirmed Hunger Games casting of Katniss and Prim Everdeen's mama (to be played by Paula Malcolmson) comes a bit of rumormongering: According to Vulture, John C. Reilly has been offered the part of District 12's victor-turned-lush-turned-middle aged mentor, Haymitch Abernathy. Chime in, mockingjays -- would Reilly fly as your big screen Haymitch?
On Tuesday, Movieline assessed five actors who might make good Haymitches, and readers wrote in with their own inspired suggestions, from Brendan Gleeson (too old) to Jeffrey Dean Morgan (too sexy, I say!). Plenty of fascinating picks, but everyone has their own idea of how Haymitch Abernathy should look and act. Which brings me to my one quibble with the idea of casting John C. Reilly.
Haymitch Abernathy is the paunchy, 40-year-old alcoholic who is assigned to mentor new District 12 tributes Katniss and Peeta as they compete in the Hunger Games. Haymitch won his year's Games at the age of 16, after which point he drank himself into his current beer-bellied physique. He's cranky and often drunk, but begins to truly care for his new charges. And he's said to have been quite a handsome young thing in his heyday.
Now, I love John C. Reilly. He's a fantastic actor with dramatic and comic skills who always manages to find the strength in buffoonish characters. He's charismatic as a leading man and a go-to charmer in supporting roles. But when I read Haymitch in The Hunger Games, I pictured a leading man past his prime -- a traditionally handsome man grown puffy with age, depression, and drink. Not quite Reilly, exactly.
Not to dwell on looks, but when it comes to The Hunger Games, fan investment is elevated beyond the average film adaptation; fans want to know that the actors chosen will match the physical images they conjured in their heads. But director Gary Ross and author Suzanne Collins have defended their casting choices so far, confident that if their actors don't necessarily fit the bill physically, they will make up for it by embodying the spirits of their respective characters.
So what say you, fans? John C. Reilly for Haymitch -- yea or nay?
· John C. Reilly Offered Role of Haymitch in The Hunger Games [Vulture]