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The Hunger Games’ Alexander Ludwig Originally Auditioned to Play Peeta!

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Long before actor Alexander Ludwig was cast as the brutal District 2 tribute Cato in The Hunger Games, the 19-year-old actor was considered for another role: good-natured Peeta, Katniss' trusty partner from District 12.

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"I started traveling Europe with a couple buddies after my senior year, and while traveling Europe, I made it my goal to physically sculpt my body so I could portray the character. I was really getting ready for that role. When it came down to it, it was between me, Josh Hutcherson and one other kid," Ludwig tells BULLETT's Spring issue.

Director Gary Ross felt Ludwig's talents were better suited for another role, "and Josh really did a great job of portraying Peeta's overall essence," Ludwig says.

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"Gary was like, 'Listen, I'd really love you to just try reading for this really quickly while I'm in the room. He gave me the script and asked me to read it as a cold read."

Ludwig says his favorite part about being hired to portray Cato is "playing the bad ass and getting to be very evil."

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"Usually I'm always playing the nice guy, and it's fun playing the bad guy once in a while, he tells BULLETT. "I got to really experiment with a side of me that I've never seen before and definitely the audience hasn't seen before, so it'll be really fun to see how people respond."

For much more on the movie, including 125 gorgeous photos and exclusive interviews, pick up Us Weekly's Hunger Games special — available on newsstands now. Order it today!

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