Fans of The Hunger Games series are eagerly awaiting more information about the upcoming prequel movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, expected to release in November 2023. So far, it's been revealed that the film will follow a young President Coriolanus Snow through his early years working as part of the Hunger Games. Actor Tom Blyth, who has been cast for the role, will have his work cut out for him as the young version of the brutal dictator.
Casting for characters already established in popular novels is always a challenge since it's typically impossible to compete with the image readers have secured in their minds. Still, characters like Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games can be captured by actors that might not perfectly fit the description if they nail the mannerisms described in the books. Gale's mannerisms, such as his fiery need for justice and brooding independence, might have provided actor Liam Hemsworth with a challenge, but he still managed to do them justice.
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Gale's Playfulness With Katniss
In the Hunger Games books, Katniss describes how hardened her heart became after her father's death. Since her mother went into a debilitating depression, she was required to grow up quickly and become the family's sole provider. Still, when it came to her time in the forest with Gale, she found herself able to relax and even smile at his endless teasing.
While the background of their relationship is not overtly stated in the movies, Hemsworth still manages to bring their history into Gale's mannerisms. Gale can be deadly serious, but his attempts to lighten the mood during the reaping and his playful use of the nickname "Catnip" demonstrate a levity that is unique to his character.
Gale's Protectiveness Over Prim
Over their years of hunting together, Gale and Katniss established an agreement that if either of them were ever reaped to enter the Games, the other would look after their family. So, when Katniss was chosen to compete, Gale wasted no time stepping in to care for Prim.
This is seen perfectly in the film when without having to be asked, Gale appeared to carry a distraught Prim away so Katniss could walk onto the stage with her head held high. The actor demonstrated Gale's heartbroken resolve in his expression and how he delivered his line, adding to the scene's impact.
Gale's Hatred For The Capitol
The biggest difference between Gale and Katniss at the beginning of the series is that while Katniss wants only to survive, Gale can be summed up in The Hunger Games by his drive to actively fight against the oppressive Capitol. This frightens Katniss at first, but when she is forced to fight or let her loved ones die, Gale's fire helps her do what is needed.
Of course, this passion eventually goes too far, and Hemsworth has to demonstrate the character's deep frustration with the Capitol and Katniss for her sympathy. This is shown in Hemsworth's battle sequences and his powerful monologues reminding Katniss who the enemy is.
Gale's Calculated Intelligence
When hunting, Katniss had the benefit of being small and agile, a luxury that Gale didn't possess. To make up for this, Gale had to develop an intelligence that allowed him to set genius traps to ensure that he could provide for his family. While this ability is not fully explored in the movies, Hemsworth still managed to translate Gale's strategic intelligence to the screen.
Gale thrived in the District 13 military, and according to the Hunger Games books, his character would make a career out of it. His abilities were quickly recognized, and he earned a spot at the table, planning attacks against the Capitol. During these meetings, Hemsworth captured Gale's calculating stare and authoritative tone when suggesting intelligent tactics.
Gale's Similarities To Katniss
Katniss' personality in The Hunger Games is summed up by her two contradicting parts. The first was her fiery need for survival that kept her family alive; the other was a gentler version of herself that longed for a life of security, love, and beauty.
While Peeta brought out the latter facet, Gale complemented the first. The same mining accident that had forced Katniss to be the head of her household had done the same to Gale, and together they learned that it took ugly means to survive. This resulted in a chemistry between the two that needed to be wordlessly translated to the screen, and Hemsworth achieved this effortlessly with his costar.
Gale's Coldhearted Determination
While The Hunger Games introduced Gale as a strong yet playful friend of Katniss, the progression of the war and the taste of freedom that it brought for the District citizens slowly started to snuff out his levity. His love for Katniss became far more melancholic, and his hate for the Capitol became all the more dangerous.
Hemsworth hints at this quality in The Hunger Games during Gale and Katniss' goodbye when he tells her, along with his cold stare, that killing people is no different than hunting animals in the woods. Later this was brought to the forefront with Gale's involvement in the siege of the District 2 mountain, where Katniss saw what he was truly capable of.
Gale's Silent Brooding
After the events of the first Hunger Games, Katniss was under a lot of pressure to please everyone. Peeta was hurt to discover that none of the affection she had shown him during the Games was genuine, while Gale refused to believe that there hadn't been more to the kisses and "star-crossed lover" angle portrayed to Capitol audiences.
So, both men in the heroine's life spent the first good half of Catching Fire barely making eye contact with her, and Gale especially was seen brooding around District 12. Hemsworth's smoldering stare made this mannerism easy to pull off. Without words, he showed how much he wished he had been the one chosen to enter the Games with Katniss, even if the "what if" scenario in The Hunger Games meant he wouldn't have been there to protect Prim.
Gale's Love For Katniss
From Katniss' perspective, she and Gale had never been more than friends before she entered the Hunger Games. Of course, it's quickly revealed that Katniss wasn't much of an authority on the matter since she was consistently oblivious to the romantic feelings of those around her.
From the movie audience's point of view, it was pretty easy to see that Gale had it bad for Katniss Everdeen. Hemsworth's intensity during Gale and Katniss' goodbye scene in The Hunger Games said it all, and his heartbroken look while watching her kiss Peeta during the Games drove Gale's love home.
Gale's Jealousy Of Peeta
After Katniss' first Hunger Games, the tension between Gale and Peeta was officially underway. From the start of the Catching Fire movie, Gale's resentment for Peeta is evident, demonstrated by Hemsworth's pursed lips anytime Peeta's name is mentioned, accompanied by a sudden coldness.
Gale and Peeta were a little more at odds with one another in the movies than in the books, where Gale even admitted to Katniss that her fellow District 12 tribute was difficult not to like. Still, his jealousy was an important part of the character, so Hemsworth needed to communicate this with audiences, even with his minimal lines on the subject.
Gale's Quiet Remorse
In the Mockingjay book, audiences experience Katniss' grief over Prim's death through her inner dialogue. She noticed Gale's absence, but it wasn't until the revealing conversation with President Snow that she put together why Gale had kept his distance.
While Gale never fully knew if it was one of the many tactical battle traps he had designed that had taken Prim's life, he recognized that Katniss would never be able to look at him without being reminded of her sister's death. In the book, Gale tells her that protecting her family was the only thing that he had going for him, but in the movie, audiences see Gale's deep remorse only in the silent acceptance of his loss. With limited time to show the characters' relationship coming to a close, Hemsworth had to wrap up all the emotions in his silent exit from the room — the last time the pair would see each other.
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