May the odds be ever in your favor
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) in "The Hunger Games."
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:41PM
What could be the biggest movie of 2012 opens Friday.
“The Hunger Games” is based on Suzanne Collins’ first book of a trilogy of young adult novels chronicling a future dystopian America where children battle to the death for the entertainment of the country. Not since the “Harry Potter” finale has a movie been so hotly anticipated.
If you haven’t read the New York Times best-seller, here’s a primer on what to expect. Because chances are your wife, brother, cousin, niece or best friend is going to make you see it.
Synopsis: All that is left of the ruins of a land once known as North America is a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a Capitol city with 12 surrounding districts. Each year, the Districts are forced to send two Tributes — one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 — to the Hunger Games: a brutal, terrifying and televised battle to the death. To the sole victor goes a life of wealth and ease — but at a terrible cost.
District 13: Location unknown; blown to smithereens by the Capitol in retaliation for defiance.
District 12: Primary industry: mining. Location: Appalachian Mountains.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence): Katniss, 16, comes from the poverty-stricken District 12. She’s been the sole provider for her family after her father’s death in the coal mines. When her 12-year-old sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female tribute in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. She is known for her archery skills and her speed.
Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson): The son of a baker, Peeta once saved Katniss’ life when they were children. He is known for his likeability and his artistry.
Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth): Katniss’s best friend and hunting partner. They have a pact to support each other’s families should one of them die in the arena.
Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson): District 12’s only living Hunger Games victor and the town drunk; he becomes the unwilling mentor to Peeta and Katniss in the Games.
Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields): Katniss’s little sister, originally chosen in the reaping.
District 11: Primary industry: agriculture. Location: Deep South. Rue (Amandla Stenberg): Rue is the youngest and smallest of the 24 tributes. She is agile and bird-like and reminds Katniss of her sister, Prim. She and Katniss develop an alliance and close bond.
Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi): The male tribute from District 11, Thresh is described as extremely powerful, but shows mercy to Katniss at an unexpected time.
District 10: Primary industry: livestock. Male tribute (Jeremy Marinas): Characterized by a crippled foot. Female tribute (Dakota Hood).District 9: Primary industry: grain. Male tribute (Imanol Yepez-Frias): Described as a rather young male with ashen hair and hazel eyes, he is notable for the fact that he’s the first to die in the arena as he and Katniss fight over a backpack, thus finishing in 24th place. Female tribute (Annie Thurman).
District 8: Primary industry: textiles. Male tribute (Samuel Tan). Female tribute (Mackenzie Lintz): She makes the deadly mistake of starting a fire at night.
District 7: Primary industry: lumber. Children are forced to work at an early age; tributes are known to be good with axes. Male tribute (Sam Ly). Female tribute (Leigha Hancock).
District 6: Primary industry: transportation. Male tribute (Ashton Moio). Female tribute (Kara Petersen).
District 5: Primary industry: power. Foxface (Jacqueline Emerson): The sly and clever female tribute from District 5 has flame-red hair and fox-like features and manages to outsmart most of the tributes. Male tribute (Chris Mark).
District 4: Primary industry: fishing. Location: Near a sea — even their bread is tinted green from seaweed. It is also described as one of the wealthier districts. Their children are trained from early on to win at the Games. Male tribute (Ethan Jamieson). Female tribute (Tara Macken): Forms an alliance with other career tributes.
Distric t 3: Primary industry: technology. Male tribute (Ian Nelson). Female tribute (Kalia Prescott).
District 2: Primary industry: masonry. District 2 is also known for training Peacekeepers (Panem’s version of police). Children are trained for the games early on. Location: Rocky Mountains, near the Capitol. Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman): Ruthless and cunning, she is skilled at knife-wielding and makes the first kill in the Hunger Games.
Cato (Alexander Ludwig): The brutal tribute from District 2 is Katniss’s biggest adversary in the arena. As a career tribute, he has trained all his life for this moment.
District 1: Primary industry: luxury. The wealthiest district, its main industry seems to be supplying the Capitol with luxury items, like diamonds. It trains children from birth to fight in the Hunger Games. Location: Rocky Mountains.
Glimmer (Leven Rambin): Described by Katniss as “sexy and lush,” Glimmer is a career tribute who grabs a bow and arrow set that Katniss covets. Marvel (Jack Quaid): Strong and ruthless, he is a skilled spear-thrower and a career tribute. Fun fact: Quaid is the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan.
The Capitol: Location: the Rocky Mountains. The Hunger Games were created singularly to show the districts of Panem that the Capitol was in charge, and any resistance would be crushed. They used children as a sacrifice to remind Panem’s residents they are at the Capitol’s mercy.
President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland): Panem’s cruel and oppressive dictator.
Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley): The ambitious head gamemaker.
Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci): Television host of “The 74th Hunger Games,” he’s the Capitol’s version of Ryan Seacrest. It’s Flickerman who gets Peeta to drop a bombshell in the pre-Games interview.
Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks): Described by Katniss as “maniacally upbeat,” Effie is noted for her outrageous style and works for the Capitol as the escort for the District 12 tributes.
Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones): Arena announcer for the games.
Cinna (Lenny Kravitz): Cinna is the stylist for Katniss and Peeta. He is the compassionate style genius who wants to make the pair unforgettable.
Let the Hunger Games begin!