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Jack Quaid Is Still 'Incredibly Sorry' About This Hunger Games Moment

When Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-seller The Hungers Games was released all the way back in 2012, it not only launched a billion-dollar franchise and the A-list careers of stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson. It also kicked off a growing interest within Hollywood for a different kind of young adult genre storytelling — one where seemingly more adult themes, from war and surveillance to poverty and revolution, were prominently featured alongside more classic YA tropes of romance and coming of age. 

In the film adaptation, the horrors of Collins' future dystopia are on full display, arguably most memorably in the form of a young character's death. Rue, played by actor Amandla Stenberg, was one of the 24 tributes across the 12 districts of Panem that were "reaped" to play a deadly game of survival — to the enjoyment of those in the new North American nation's Capitol, and to the fear of everyone else. Just 12-years-old — making her the youngest competitor in the 74th Hunger Games — the District 11 tribute befriends the film's main protagonist and District 12 representative Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) after glimpsing her Mocking Jay pin — a symbol of revolution and resistance. 

Soon after, Rue is brutally murdered by a boy named Marvel, one of the tributes from District 1. Not only is he from the wealthiest district, but a place where tributes are chosen and train their entire lives for the games. After The Hunger Games was recently shown on Freeform, one eagle-eyed fan pointed out the performer portraying Marvel looks familiar, but also a little jarring in the role, at least when you consider who he plays now. 

Jack Quaid was "incredibly sorry" for murdering the beloved Hunger Games character

The actor in question is Jack Quaid, the son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, but more importantly the star of Amazon's The Boys. În Eric Kripke's adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertsons' comic book series, Quaid plays Hughie Campbell, a somewhat hapless vigilante with no powers who attempts to take down a corrupted crew of government-backed superheroes with some help from Karl Urban and his band antiheroes. While he's playing a good guy now, in 2012, he made his acting debut in the minor role of Marvel, one of two venomous tributes from District 1. It's a pretty stomach-turning performance, and one many clearly forgot Quaid played, including the Twitter user who called the actor out directly (via Entertainment Weekly). 

"Wait, @JackQuaid92 [Jack Quaid] killed Rue?" @B_Ri tweeted, along with a screenshot of the scene itself.

Nearly a decade later, the sequence is still just as emotionally shocking, but also now feels a little odd considering what Quaid is doing — that is, playing someone the complete opposite of a spoiled and murderous child antagonist.

After the fan tagged Quaid in the tweet, he caught wind of the reminder and decided to share some comical, and sincere, regret for his character's actions. "Oh s— that's right. Sorry," Quaid tweeted in response. He then immediately followed up with a note that his character was, in fact, punished for his actions and his larger role in the classist system of Panem. "In all fairness, I met my demise VERY quickly afterwards. I was brainwashed by my luxurious District 1 upbringing. But yes incredibly sorry."

Quaid is clearly being a little humorous, but he's also subtly acknowledging the significance of Rue's death.

Quaid's film debut was as significant for his career as it was for the world of The Hunger Games

While any child being forced to murder other children for sport and the entertainment of rich adults is a ghastly reality to live in, the fictional and real-world connotations of the death of Rue, a young poor Black girl, at the hands of a violently inequitable system —personified by Marvel — are heavy. And though Lawrence's Katiness ultimately ends up leading the revolution, if rather reluctantly, Rue's face and death are often considered the inciting event of that revolution. 

In Collins' dystopian future, North American governments as we know them have fallen to a series of ecological distasters and global wars. In their place has risen Panem, a society divided up into 12 districts, charged with supplying different necessities to Panem's Capitol. Each district was also charged with supplying two tributes to the annual Hunger Games, a violent reality TV-esque competition that thrusts 24 contenders into a deadly arena — driven by the motto "kill or be killed" — and has them duke it out until only one remains. The higher your district number, the worse the conditions you lived and worked in, and the greater the chance you'd lose both "tributes" in the Capitol's gruesome event to districts whose players had more resources and time to train.

Rue, from District 11, was a child who existed at the intersections of Panem's inequity, discrimination, and cruelty — and was as much a flashpoint character in the books as she was among audiences. So while Quaid's Marvel was just doing what every other tribute had done before, he did it as one of the strongest examples of Collins' social metaphors. And that arguably makes his character — even for his short time on the screen — one of The Hunger Games' worst villains.