Austin Butler: ‘I Auditioned’ for ‘The Hunger Games’ to Play Peeta and ‘I Don’t Even Think I Got a Call Back’

Austin Butler revealed in a video interview with BuzzFeed that he unsuccessfully auditioned to play Peeta in “The Hunger Games” franchise. The role ultimately went to Josh Hutcherson, who starred in four “Hunger Games” movies between 2012 and 2015 opposite Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Liam Hemsworth as Gale. The franchise turned the three actors into global stars.

“I auditioned for ‘The Hunger Games’ and I didn’t get it at all,” Butler said. “I don’t even think I got a call back, what’s the character, Peeta? Josh Hutcherson got that, he’s great.”

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Butler was joined in the BuzzFeed video interview by his “The Bikeriders” co-star Jodie Comer, who revealed she has also missed out on a big franchise: “I auditioned for ‘Mamma Mia!’ That was a time, That was also when I was auditioning for ‘Killing Eve’ as well.”

At the time of the first “Hunger Games” movie’s production, Butler was best known for his stints on various Disney Channel and Nickelodeon projects such “Zoey 101,” “iCarly” and “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.” He missed out on “The Hunger Games” but did get cast around the same time in The CW’s “Sex and the City” prequel series “The Carrie Diaries.” He’d get his franchise blockbuster years later courtesy of 2024’s “Dune: Part Two.”

As far “The Hunger Games,” the film franchise continues to live on. Lionsgate announced earlier this month that it is developing a new prequel film that will be based on Suzanne Collins’ upcoming novel “Sunrise on the Reaping.” The book is to be released in 2025, with the the film adaptation hitting theaters on Nov. 20, 2026. Francis Lawrence, who has helmed every “Hunger Games” installment since 2012’s “Catching Fire,” is in talks to direct.

“The Hunger Games: Sunrise on the Reaping” will revisit the world of Panem 24 years before the events of the “Hunger Games” saga and four decades after “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” It will start on the morning of the reaping of the 50th Hunger Games, also known as the Second Quarter Quell — in which Haymitch Abernathy, portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the original series, competed. Haymitch Abernathy later mentors Katniss and Peeta in the 74th Hunger Games.

The “Hunger Games” film franchise has generated more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office, with 2013’s “Catching Fire” as the highest-grossing with $865 million. Last year’s prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” earned $337 million worldwide.

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