Welcome to the dystopian future dreamed up by author Suzanne Collins in her best-selling books and turned into a movie franchise whose second installment opens Friday. In a genre known for being testosterone-saturated, the story revolves around Jennifer Lawrence’s bow-wielding Katniss and her battle against the oppressive government that sends kids to compete in a televised battle to the death. In this case, it’s the men — Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, 23 — and not the damsel in distress.
“The fact that we have a woman front and center and the strongest character, I think it’s great,” says Hemsworth.
n fact, the major battle they face is with each other, over Katniss’ affections. Much like “Twilight” fans were split in Team Edward and Team Jacob camps, fans have definite opinions about whether the heroine should end up with childhood friend Gale (Hemsworth) or Peeta (Hutcherson), her fellow contestant in the deadly competition.
Even the actors are torn.
“I don’t necessarily think that ‘Team Peeta’ is the right choice,” says Peeta himself. “I feel like Peeta has the more kind of sensitive, artistic listener side. And Gale is more protector/provider/caretaker type.
“If I were Katniss, I don’t know who I would choose.”
Hemsworth also makes a pitch for his distinguished competition: “What Gale knows is — as hard as it is to watch someone he cares deeply about fall in love with someone else — he really does care about her,” says the Australian actor.
“All Peeta is trying to do is protect her and keep her alive and that’s all Gale wants as well.”