'The Hunger Games' thesp toplining Vietnam-era indie drama

After he wraps Lionsgate’s adaptation “The Hunger Games,” Aussie thesp Liam Hemsworth will topline the indie “AWOL” along with Austin Stowell, Teresa Palmer and Aimee Teegarden, all of whom are in negotiations.

Danny Mooney is making his directorial debut with the pic, which is based on a true story. Stowell stars as a young soldier in Vietnam who gets dumped by his hometown girl, played by Teegarden. Hemsworth plays his best friend who joins him in going AWOL. Together, they return to the States to win her back. Chris Lowell and Max Adler are also in talks to co-star.

Chip Diggins will produce with Patrick Olson, while scribes Jim Burnstein and Garrett Schiff will exec produce with Eddie Rubin and Peter Pastorelli.

Story’s set amid the anti-war movement at U. of Michigan, with production slated to start in mid-July in Ann Arbor.

Hemsworth, best known for romancing Miley Cyrus in “The Last Song,” will soon be seen as Gale Hawthorne in “The Hunger Games.” Thesp is also attached to star in Chuck Russell’s “Arabian Nights.”

Though Stowell is primarily known for his TV work, including a recurring role on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” he’ll make his bigscreen debut in WB’s “Dolphin Tale” and will also appear in the Chris Evans starrer “Puncture.”Palmer recently starred in Relativity Media’s “Take Me Home Tonight” and wrapped the Joel Edgerton starrer “Say Nothing.” She’s attached to star in George Miller’s Mad Max pic “Fury Road” and Summit zombie film “Warm Bodies.”

“Friday Night Lights” star Teegarden recently appeared in “Scream 4″ and Disney’s “Prom.” Thesp recently wrapped the indie thriller “Beneath the Darkness.”

Former “Private Practice” and “Veronica Mars” star Lowell will soon be seen in DreamWorks’ “The Help,” while Adler stars as Dave Karofsky on Fox’s hit series “Glee.”

WME reps Hemsworth, Lowell and Palmer, who are also managed by ROAR, Thruline Entertainment and Management 360/Shanahan Management, respectively. Teegarden is repped by Innovative Artists, while CAA and Justice & Ponder rep Stowell. Adler is repped by Gersh and Andy Corren Management.

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