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Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson)
''These are kids growing up in war who physically, emotionally can't love somebody,'' says Jennifer Lawrence about the uncomfortable triangle between District 12's battle-weary Katniss, Peeta, and her childhood friend Gale that began in The Hunger Games. ''Katniss thinks she can't have a crush on a boy because she's worried about survival every single day. And she can't be a normal 16-year-old meeting her friend out in the woods and practicing kissing because that's not the world that they live in.''
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Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth)
''Jen and Liam have amazing chemistry,'' says director Francis Lawrence of his young stars. ''They have a nice moment right before Katniss is reaped that is the very first thing we shot. And then when Gale has been brought in from the whipping, that's another really nice moment they have alone.'' ''This is the book where you have to understand the pull Katniss feels to both Peeta and Gale,'' say producer Nina Jacobson.
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Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Katniss
''Pressure, pressure, the pressure is on,'' says good-natured Sam Claflin about stepping into the net of District 4's charismatic golden boy. ''I'm on Twitter and so many people are like, 'Don't mess this up, or we will kill you.' People are just worried that I'm not going to be as sex god enough as Finnick should be. I've literally had four months of eating nothing but chicken and asparagus. I just want a burger and a beer.''
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For more exclusive Catching Fire photos, pick up EW on newsstands Friday or buy the issue online now.