First Shots of Josh Hutcherson & Liam Hemsworth From ‘Hunger Games’ Released!

Taryn Ryder / July 27, 2011

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Well, hey there Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne! Entertainment Weekly just unveiled their new cover featuring Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson as Gale and Peeta (respectively). 

Hutcherson is aware of the negative feelings some Hunger Games fans have about him being cast as Peeta — particularly that he isn’t tall enough and that Jennifer Lawrence will “tower” over him in the film, when he should be the big, strong one.

“Jennifer’s not two feet taller than me!” Josh said with an easy laugh. “If anything, maybe she’s a half inch taller.”

Director Gary Ross is also defending Liam, saying he is more than an Australian beefcake who starred in a Miley Cyrus movie:

“On first glance he’s such a hunk that it’s easy to just sort of ascribe a hunk-like simplicity to him. But this is a phenomenally subtle actor.”

Oh, and the rivalry between Josh and Liam is strictly onscreen. Hutcherson brought Hemsworth home to Kentucky one weekend to relax with his family and eat some of his grandmother’s famous fried chicken. Love it!

“I think it’s going to blow people’s minds when they see that Peeta and Gale are actually best friends in real life,” continues Hutcherson.

Chime in Celebuzz readers: do the new shots of Liam and Josh in character get you pumped up? Or do you need a little more convincing. Sound off in the comments!

While we think both look great, must confess…right now, we might be Team Gale!