‘Hunger Games’ Director Gary Ross: Casting Jennifer Lawrence Was ‘Easiest Casting Decision I Ever Made’

Despite some fan grumblings about Jennifer Lawrence being chosen as the lead in “The Hunger Games,” director Gary Ross said that there was no question that he made the right choice picking the Oscar nominee for the role of Katniss Everdeen.

“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.”

As for the fans who might think that Jennifer is too old for the role of Katniss, Gary stated that not only was Jennifer his top pick, but the author of the series, Suzanne Collins, also gave her vote of approval.

“Suzanne saw every single audition. And not only did Suzanne not have an issue with Jen’s age, she felt you need someone of a certain maturity and power to be Katniss,” Gary asserted. “This is a girl who needs to incite a revolution. We can’t have an insubstantial person play her, and we can’t have someone who’s too young to play this.”

In fact, the “Winter’s Bone” star impressed the director right from the start, when she came in for the audition.

“She came in and read for me and it just knocked me out,” Gary told EW. “I don’t want to go into too many details, but we did a scene from the movie and it was so amazingly powerful that it was sort of stunning. You glimpsed every aspect of the role and the potential of the whole movie.”

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the actress beating out fellow Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin for the leading role in the Young Adult bestselling trilogy.

Speculation continues on which young star will be cast as Katniss’ closest ally from District 12, Peeta Mellark.

“Beastly” star Alex Pettyfer told Access that he met with producers about the role.

“Yes, but undecided yet, still [waiting] to see a script,” Alex said.

E! Online reported this week that “Weeds” star Hunter Parrish is up for the part. Still other reports have mentioned that Josh Hutcherson from the recent Oscar nominated film “The Kids Are All Right” was being considered.

According to Gary, fans won’t have to wait long to find out who will be starring alongside Jennifer.

“We’ve read a lot of people for a lot of roles… We’re very close,” the director to EW. “I have very, very good ideas about who I want in a lot of other roles. So I think there’ll be a lot of stuff coming pretty quickly.”

“The Hunger Games” is slated to arrive in theaters on March 23, 2012.

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