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Aussie star fools director with audition
Liam Hemsworth. Picture: George Pimentel/Getty Images.

Hollywood director Gary Ross didn't know much about the strapping, good-looking, young American actor who strolled into a Los Angeles audition room last year to read for one of the lead roles in The Hunger Games.

Ross was searching for someone to play Gale Hawthorne, close friend of the best-selling book adaptation's central female character Katniss Everdeen and physically the 22-year-old, 1.91m tall actor named Liam Hemsworth certainly fit the bill.

When Hemsworth recited a few lines, the director's excitement grew.

"Gale is strong, strapping and someone Katniss looks up to physically as well as figuratively," the silver-haired Ross, whose previous films included Seabiscuit and Pleasantville, recalled in an interview with AAP.

"Liam embodied the character to me.

"He came in and delivered a phenomenal audition."

It was only during a break in the reading when Ross and Hemsworth had a chat that the director noted something odd.

Hemsworth's accent changed.

Hemsworth wasn't American, but a true blue Aussie.

"I didn't even know he was Australian when he read," LA-born Ross laughed.

"He came in with an American accent and completely fooled me."

Hemsworth and his older brother Chris have impressed plenty since they quit successful TV careers in Australia a few years back and tested the acting waters in Hollywood.

While most actors failed and forced to return home, the Hemsworth boys, who grew up on Victoria's Phillip Island, have become two of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood, with 28-year-old Chris scoring the role of superhero Thor last year and this year plays opposite Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in Snow White & The Huntsman.

Younger brother Liam, the former star of Neighbours and The Elephant Princess, is booked to star alongside Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 2, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the drama Empire State and the action-adventure with Anthony Hopkins, Arabian Nights.

The Hemsworths are also doing well in their private lives, with Chris marrying Spanish actress Elsa Pataky in 2010 and Liam dating teen queen Miley Cyrus.

The brothers are competitive with each other, often going for the same role as they did with Thor, and they don't mind playing a practical joke or flinging a barb.

Asked what was the best advice he had received during his time in Hollywood, Liam recalled a comment offered by his brother.

"Chris texted me a month before we started shooting and said 'It's called The Hunger Games, not The Eating Games'," Liam, who has a reputation as a big eater, said.

"That was his advice and I took it to heart."

The Hunger Games has been a literary sensation, with the novel, written by Suzanne Collins and first published in 2008, selling almost 30 million copies and entrenched on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 180 weeks.

The science fiction action-drama is expected to gross around $US1 billion ($A945.81 million) at the global box office, with a $US100 million-plus opening weekend in North American theatres this weekend.

Set in the post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, an area where North America once existed, the wealthy, eccentric residents of The Capitol preside over the less fortunate residents of 12 districts.

Each year a boy and a girl are randomly selected to represent their district in a TV reality show, The Hunger Games, where entrants are dropped in a forest region and fight to the death.

The last person breathing receives a lifetime supply of food, gifts and other honours.

Collins penned two sequels, with the Hollywood studio behind the adaptations signalling the sequels would be split in three movies.

Hemsworth laughed when he was told about his director's reaction to his faux American accent.

"We had a great read and then I got a call back a week later to read with Jennifer," Hemsworth said.

Jennifer Lawrence, the 21-year-old Kentucky-born Oscar nominee, was cast as Everdeen and while Hemsworth impressed Ross, the deal breaker would be Lawrence.

If Hemsworth and Lawrence did not have the appropriate chemistry, another actor would be cast as Gale.

"It was tough," Hemsworth said.

"At that point I was as nervous as hell because there were other people reading with her as well so you want to make sure you make a good impression."

Hemsworth obviously did.

Ask Lawrence about her Australian co-star and her eyes light up.

She fears Hemsworth is so good looking people do not realise what a talented actor he is.

"It's a shame he is so handsome because he is incredibly talented and a really nice guy," Lawrence, nominated last year for a best actress Oscar for the drama Winter's Bone, said.

"He's such a good actor, but all you can ever talk about is that face.

"I'd hate to be that beautiful."

With most of the film shot in North Carolina, it meant Hemsworth, Lawrence and 19-year-old co-star Josh Hutcherson, cast as the third piece of the story's eventual love triangle, spent plenty of time away from the set with each other.

One day Lawrence and Hutcherson, also from Kentucky, decided to take Hemsworth down to a creek to catch a local delicacy.

"We tried to catch a crawdad to show Liam what it was," Lawrence said.

"Josh and I saw what we thought was a dead crawdad floating and we were like 'Catch it' so Josh put his hand out, picked it up but it was a leech.

"We screamed and ran away and left Josh there getting his blood sucked."

A crawdad, they discovered, was like an Aussie crayfish.

"I think if we would have just said 'crayfish' Liam would have been less intrigued," Lawrence said.

The Hunger Games opens on March 22.