Wes Bentley Enters ‘The Hunger Games’

The “American Beauty” actor joins Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in Lionsgate’s movie

Wes Bentley will play Seneca Crane, the head gamemaker, in "The Hunger Games," Lionsgate announced Thursday.

Bentley, who rocketed to fame as Ricky Fitts in 1999's "American Beauty," is all grown up now. In the Suzanne Collins "Hunger Game" novels, Crane meets a grisly end.

Lionsgate is betting that "Hunger Games" will deliver big — be its version of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga."

Considering the popularity of the novels and the interest in the movie, it's a pretty good bet.

The three leads — Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth — were among the most coveted roles for young actors, with some actually campaigning for parts.

'The Hunger Games” is set in, as young adult novels tend to be, a dystopic world. In this one, teenagers are forced to participate in an annually televized fight-to-the-death events.

Lionsgate plans to release the film on March 23, 2012.

Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") will direct, and Nina Jacobson’s Color Force will produce with producer Jon Kilik. Billy Ray ("Shattered Glass," "State of Play") wrote the screenplay.