Josh Hutcherson & Liam Hemsworth Cast In 'The Hunger Games'

Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth -- Getty Premium

"The Hunger Games" is officially underway.

Lionsgate and the filmmakers of "The Hunger Games" announced Monday that Josh Hutcherson of the recent Oscar nominated film "The Kids Are All Right" has been cast in the role of Peeta Mellark, and that Liam Hemsworth from "The Last Song" will play Gale Hawthorne in the screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopia trilogy.

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Josh and Liam will be joining 2011 Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence who has been cast as Katniss Everdeen. In the film, the three find themselves in a love triangle, overshadowed by their participation in a fight-to-the-death live televised event.

Josh beat out a number of other Hollywood actors that were vying for the coveted role of the "boy with the bread."

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"Beastly" star Alex Pettyfer told Access that he met with producers about the role of Peeta.

"Yes, but undecided yet, still [waiting] to see a script," Alex said in February.

In addition, there were reports that "Weeds" star Hunter Parrish was up for the part.

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Despite some fan grumblings that Jennifer Lawrence was too old, and perhaps not the right choice for Katniss, director Gary Ross defended the decision.

"I absolutely cast the right person for the role and in my view there wasn't even a question who the best Katniss was," Gary told Entertainment Weekly. "It was the easiest casting decision I ever made in my life."

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"The Hunger Games" will be directed by Gary Ross and will hit theaters on March 23, 2012.

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