'Hunger Games': Elizabeth Banks Will (Likely) Play Effie

By Kevin Fallon

How did the 30 Rock actress get the part? She just asked for it.

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Reuters/Mario Anzuoni


Elizabeth Banks is the latest actor to join the upcoming adaptation of the Hunger Games, taking on the role of Effie in the film. Banks, who is best known for roles on 30 Rock and in The 40 Year Old Virgin, and for playing Laura Bush W., is being described (in those annoyingly ambiguous Hollywood terms) as being "in serious talks" and "closely circling" the part.

The peppy, pink-haired handler of the teenagers competing in the Hunger Games, Effie is a major character throughout the trilogy, and is one of the most complicated roles in the series—tasked with maintaining positivity and decorum as she escorts her young tributes to face possible death. How did Banks get the part? She just asked.

When publications started filling out their fantasy casting lists for the series' major characters, there were many mentions of Banks as Effie. Banks, who has almost 380,000 followers on Twitter, re-tweeted some of those wish lists, sending a clear signal that she was gunning for the part.

And she's not the only cast-member who got a part in the series after asking for it. Josh Hutcherson, who will play Peeta in the film, openly talked about his audition and desire to join the cast: "I love Peeta. The character is so much who I am—self deprecating, a people person. And he'd be such a great character to play!" The Kids Are All Right Actor told EW.com in March. "But they're meeting a lot of people right now. One can only dream."

He was cast in the film just three weeks later.

Unlike the controversial castings of Jennifer Lawrence as lead character Katniss Everdeen, Hutcherson as Peeta, and Liam Hemsworth as Gale—who were considered too old and physically different from their characters—the casting of Banks shouldn't be met with much outcry by the series' many passionate fans. Along with Glee's pint-sized, ever-chipper Kristin Chenoweth, Banks was one of the actresses discussed most as ideal casting for the part.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/hunger-games-elizabeth-banks-will-likely-play-effie/237557/