John C. Reilly was originally offered the role, now Woody Harrelson is set to play Haymitch Abernathy in “The Hunger Games” for Lionsgate reports Movieline.
The story chronicles Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her defiant struggle to survive in a future dystopia where The Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to atone for their onetime insurrection through the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death event held in a fantastical man made arena.
In the book, Abernathy is the only person from District 12 to win the games. Now he serves as a mentor to District 12 contestants Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), although he has become an alcoholic.
Harrelson had originally been eyed for the part of Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane, a role that ultimately went to Wes Bentley. Jeremy Marinas and Dakota Hood have also just been announced as the District 10 Tributes.
Gary Ross directs from an adapted screenplay by Billy Ray, and shooting kicks off shortly. Four more key roles have yet to be cast – the two District 2 tributes, Katniss’ designer Cinna and the series villain President Snow.