Woody Harrelson Joins Bulging ‘Hunger Games’ Cast

Harrelson will play Haymitch Abernathy in Lionsgate adaptation of Suzanne Collins novel

"The Hunger Games" is getting filling up fast.

Woody Harrelson is the latest actor to join Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins's series of young adult novels. On Tuesday, the studio announced that Harrelson will play Haymitch Abernathy. On Monday, it announced that Stanley Tucci had joined the cast.

"The Hunger Games” is set in an unhappy world in which teenagers are forced to participate in an annually televized fight-to-the-death events. 

Abernathy is mentor to Katniss Everdeen — Jennifer Lawrence's role and the main character in the movie. Everdeen is one of the fighters.

Lionsgate is betting big on the movie, which also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Wes Bentley. The studio wants it to be a franchise the way "The Twilight Saga" was a franchise for Summit Entertainment.

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.