Katniss is described as having olive skin and implied to be mixed race in the book. Jennifer Lawrence is white. Although there was some controversy over the Race Lift, Lawrence's performance was universally praised.
Peeta is described as having blonde, curly hair, blue eyes and being taller than Katniss. Josh Hutcherson dyes his hair blond but keeps it straight instead of curly. There was also fan outrage over him not being "good looking enough" for Katniss to pick him over Gale. Suzanne Collins said that Hutcherson was perfect for the part. By the time the third and fourth movies came out most fans of the books agreed that he captured Peeta's character very well.
Jennifer Lawrence helps feed her starving family by catching squirrels in Winter's Bone too.
Paula Malcolmson had played Jennifer Lawrence's mother before in a Cold Case episode.
Actor Existence Failure: Phillip Seymour Hoffman died just a week before he would have finished filming his scenes for the two Mockingjay films. He was digitally inserted into some scenes he hadn't shot.
Awesome, Dear Boy: Donald Sutherland only saw the script by accident and had to lobby really hard to play President Snow. He was cast after he wrote a letter to the director.
The film was banned in Vietnam. Officially, the ban was for showing youth violence, though it has more to do with Vietnam not being happy with a film that shows youngsters fighting back against a totalitarian state. The rest of the series, however, was shown and even with much publicity.
Strangely enough, the film was not banned in China itself, despite it being more authoritarian than Vietnam. This is possibly due to it being possible to interpret the film as a parable about "Western decadence".
Casting Gag: Both Josh Hutcherson and Alexander Ludvig starred in movies with AnnaSophia Robb. In other words, Jess is fighting Leslie's brother.
The Character Died with Him: Averted. Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away in early February 2014, seven days away from completing filming on Mockingjay - Part 2 and he had already completed almost all of his scenes for Part 1. Early reports after his passing stated that the production crew planned to use CGI for the rest of his scenes, but a recent interview with director Francis Lawrence reveals that they plan to use only existing footage of Hoffman for scenes in which Plutarch appears in the background and to rewrite the rest of his dialogue scenes that he had yet to film so that his lines will be spoken by other characters.
At first, the film's creators considered casting an actual teen in the lead role (among others, Saoirse Ronan, Chloe Moretz, and Hailee Steinfeld were considered for Katniss' part). They finally settled with 21-year old Jennifer Lawrence to play 16-year old Katniss. Liam Hemsworth (Gale, 18) was 21 during filming, while Josh Hutcherson (Peeta, 16) was 19. Leven Rambin (Glimmer, 18) was 21 at the time.
Averted by Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove), Jacqueline Emerson (Foxface), Amandla Stenberg (Rue), and Willow Shields (Prim), aged 14, 16, 12, and 11 during production.
Many of the actors playing tributes from the other districts are at least 20.
Katniss and Gale are brunettes played by blondes while Peeta is a blond played by a brunet. Otherwise averted with Katniss's skinny frame - as Jennifer Lawrence refuses to starve herself for a role.
Many of the Capitol extras actually allowed their hair to be dyed those crazy colors for the movies. That is dedication.
Wes Bentley sported Seneca's beard for real.
Alexander Ludwig worked out four hours a day with a Navy Seal to get into shape for his role as Cato.
Averted for Jena Malone in Mockingjay as she wore a bald cap and a pixie cut wig due to her commitments in Inherent Vice (as she had dyed her brown hair red for the film) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (as she wore a blonde wig, though it was a Deleted Role and her scenes would be restored in the extended version). This is jusified since her character had less screen time for the third and fourth instalments.
Fake American: Given Panem is post-apocalyptic USA, Liam Hemsworth (Australian), Donald Sutherland (Canadian), Toby Jones (British), and Paula Malcomson (Irish) fit.
Fan Nickname: President Santa Claus, or Evil Santa, for President Snow.
Toast babies for Katniss and Peeta's children.
The Other Darrin: In the Japanese dub, possibly due to licensing, Rue and Seneca's roles are recasted in the DVD/BD release of the movie in Japan, but the rest of the cast keeps their original dub voices from the theatrical version.
Appears to be the case with Donald Sutherland, who read the books and then sought the role of Snow by writing Gary Ross a letter where he delved into the character's motivations in great detail (which ended up being the basis for some of Snow's scenes in the first film). The DVD of the first film has a bonus feature of Sutherland reading the letter.
Elizabeth Banks, who plays Effie, actively sought the part, being a huge fan of the books. She's also a huge Hayffie shipper and has said in interviews that she's asked Suzanne Collins if the two can end up together in the final film. In the books they're never shown as romantically involved. They finish Mockingjay by kissing each other. She even gave her character in Pitch Perfect the surname Abernathy.
Follow the Leader: The success of this series has ushered in a proliferation of countless young adult series with post-apocalyptic settings where young protagonists must survive under oppressive Hunger Games-like situations imposed on them by evil adult overlords.
Reality Subtext: Jennifer Lawrence was reluctant to take the role of Katniss, having been used to independent films and worried about the franchise's popularity - just like Katniss becomes a celebrity when she doesn't want to be.
Throw It In!: The extra scenes with President Snow and Seneca Crane are apparently the product of a lengthy letter Sutherland wrote to the director on his interpretation of the character of Snow after he read the original screenplay. Ross liked them so much that he wrote two scenes of character exposition exploring the themes of Sutherland's letter and added them to the script for the first movie, thus elevating Sutherland to the status of Cool Old Guy in real life. You can find his letter online, but the DVD special features has him actually reading it.