By Adam Spunberg and Savanna New

The Hunger Games world is abuzz with casting rumors. For those of you who don’t know, The Hunger Games is a futuristic trilogy set in a dystopian version of America, where children are forced to fight to the death on national television. The first in this immensely successful book series, by Suzanne Collins, is now being set to a highly anticipated film, which is expected to rival Harry Potter and Twilight.

We are extremely fortunate to have Gabby Vittoria and Pauline Hughes from The Hob to break down the leading contenders in this heated casting debate. After giving Peeta a spin in the arena, it’s time to let the silent-but-thoughtful, hunter-miner, lifelong-friend-and-secret-admirer Gale Hawthorne get his shot. If you salivate over tough pretty boys, he just might be your dream crush.

Note: The Hob is one of the top fan sites on the web, and we strongly encourage that you visit their site for more information.

Part I: Katniss
Part II: Haymitch
Part III: Peeta
Part IV: Gale
Part V: Effie
Part VI: President Snow
Part VII: Prim
Part VIII: Cinna
Part IX: Rue
Part X: Tributes
Part XI: The Others

Related: Interview with Tanvi Berwah of Hunger Games Network on the international impact

Thomas McDonell

Gabby: Of the three, Thomas McDonell looks the most Gale to me. Grade: B

Pauline: He looks like a brooding guy, perfect [for Gale]. Grade: A

Adam: Thomas McDonell is somewhat of a newbie in the acting world, which is okay for a character like Gale. Being Gale is so easy, even a caveman could do it! (All he has to do is hunt, look pretty, and chicken out for years when he should have been making a move). And this is where McDonell would say back to me: “That’s so condescending!” like those GEICO cavemen. Maybe I’ve turned into a Capitol snob. All joking aside, Gale’s effectiveness could very well come from his body language and nuanced facial expressions. McDonell has yet to prove whether he’s capable of that. Grade: B

Savanna: I’m not familiar with Thomas McDonell’s work, so I can’t really assess his acting abilities, but physically, he’s got Gale written all over him. I can totally see him setting traps and skinning squirrels and giving all those hopeless District 12 girls something to dream about at night. And let’s admit it, that’s pretty much all Gale is good for. Team Peeta all the way! Grade: B

Robbie Amell

Gabby: Robbie Amell still has a boyish quality about him that I don’t picture in Gale. I want someone a bit more rough around the edges. Grade: C

Pauline: I think that Robbie Amell would make a better Peeta, looks-wise. Grade: C

Adam: Robbie Amell’s most notable film to date was Cheaper by the Dozen 2 in 2005, where he played one of the kids in Eugene Levy’s privileged family. Surely, since everyone has seen that family classic (sarcasm), the question we’re all asking is: Can he overcome the stigma of being from the right side of the lake? He can pull off repressed anger, but can he showcase Gale’s subtle intelligence? Grade: C+

Savanna: Okay, so I know he’s only 22, but in some images, Robbie Amell could pass for 30. It’s true that Gale, who is 18 in The Hunger Games, looks more physically mature than his peers, but Amell wouldn’t work at all paired with a younger Katniss. He also seems very jock-like, more clean-cut quarterback than rugged huntsman. Why is he even a part of this group? Because he has dark hair and light-colored eyes? He’d be much better suited as one of the Career Tributes. Grade: C-

Nico Tortorella

Gabby: Nico Tortorella is a bit too “pretty boy” for Gale! Grade: C

Pauline: I think Nico Tortorella has too much of a baby face to be Gale. Grade: C

Adam: At first glance, I’m just not seeing Gale in Tortorella. In fact, he seems almost Peeta-esque. However, makeup and hair dye can inspire a pretty quick metamorphosis — so if Cher and D from Clueless can get their hands on him, he might just sing, “I…don’t care…what my teacher’s say: I’m gonna be a super hunter!” Grade: C+

Savanna: And the secret to being considered for the role of Gale becomes clear: possession of a double L in one’s surname (McDonell, Amell, Tortorella…). While Nico Tortorella might have a shot at winning Panem’s Next Top Model, I doubt he’s got what it takes to fill Gale’s well-worn boots. He’s almost too attractive, if such a thing is possible. A potential Finnick, perhaps? Grade: C

 

Picktainment’s Picks

Avan Jogia

Adam: Jogia definitely looks like he came from the Seam, and he has been competent enough in a limited acting career. Unfortunately, we really need to see him read the part and set a few traps, climb a fence, pout, and watch reality TV with a snarl. Based on a hunch and pure speculation, I predict he can do it. Grade: B+

Savanna:
Although the show wasn’t a success, I liked Avan Jogia on Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica spin-off, Caprica. If the film’s creators decide to go with a younger Katniss, like Hailee Steinfeld, Jogia would be the perfect Gale! With Jennifer Lawrence allegedly having been offered the part, though, Jogia may simply not be man enough to play with the Girl on Fire. Grade: A-

Ethan Peck

Adam: Here’s another dark-haired, alleged “heartthrob” (I trust to women’s opinions on these things), without much to go on. However, a quick stroll through the album reveals a guy who looks JUST like the Gale I envisioned, and he even seems likable. Maybe he’s born with it…maybe it’s Maybelline. Either way, Greasy Sae told me she wants him behind the Hob after a sumptuous dish of squirrel stew — so I think we ought to throw District 12 a bushel and a Peck. Grade: A-

Savanna:
Interestingly enough, at 25, Ethan Peck is the oldest Gale we’ve looked at, yet he seems much younger than most of his competition. He’s got a sensitive-yet-masculine aura about him that I think would fit the character quite beautifully. If a non-14-year-old ends up as Katniss, Peck is most definitely my top pick for Gale. Grade: A

Andrew Keegan 12 Years Ago

Adam: How perfect would he have been! We all know him as the preening male model from 10 Things I Hate About You, but did you know he once played a Gale-like character in Teenage Caveman? Maybe I ought to be ashamed, but I actually watched that once on TV — after DVR-ing it. Damn, a younger Keegan would have been perfect! You decide. Grade: A

Savanna: Having displayed his versatility as an actor in such films as 10 Things I Hate About You, O, and A Midsummer Night’s Rave, this former teen heartthrob and Shakespearean thespian never fails to bring art and acumen to each role he undertakes. If only he had been born a decade later, Keegan might have wowed us with his interpretation of Katniss’s best friend and sold many a “Boys of Hunger Games” edition of Tiger Beat (complete with leather-scented Team Gale pull-out posters, of course). Grade: B

 

Adam Spunberg is a senior writer at Picktainment and founder of the Austen Twitter Project. Email him at adam@picktainment.com or tweet @AdamSpunberg.

Savanna New is an associate editor at Picktainment. Email her at
savanna@picktainment.com.