Gale Hawthorne Comforts Primrose Everdeen in The Hunger Games!

 Murray Close/Lionsgate

The Hunger Games doesn’t hit theaters until March 23, but Us Weekly has an exclusive sneak peek from inside the pages of the magazine’s special issue (on stands March 2).

PHOTOS: See a sneak peek from The Hunger Games

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Liam Hemsworth plays Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) best friend and hunting partner Gale Hawthorne, who comforts her little sister Primrose (Willow Shields) during the Reaping.

VIDEO: Jennifer Lawrence sacrifices herself in The Hunger Games trailer

In the pivotal scene, one boy (Josh Hutcherson) and one girl (Shields) are randomly selected to compete in the Hunger Games, where 24 tributes from 12 districts must fight to the death; Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. More than 500 extras gathered at an abandoned cotton mill to film the emotionally-charged scene.

Hunger Games

“My favorite scene to film was the Reaping,” 38-year-old Elizabeth Banks, who plays Effie Trinket, recently told Us. “The energy was so great around that scene. Very powerful.”

For much more on the movie, including 125 gorgeous photos and exclusive interviews, pick up Us Weekly‘s Hunger Games special — available on newsstands March 2. Pre-order your copy now!

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