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This Is Who Played Rue In The Hunger Games

The dystopian young adult sci-fi adventure subgenre eventually got run into the ground and all but petered out from the Hollywood cinematic landscape as superhero movies consolidated their dominance. But there was a time in the early 2010s in which "The Hunger Games" was the movie franchise — if you were a teen at the time, you'll almost certainly remember the breathless fan anticipation, the long lines to get advance tickets, and the social media uproar that came with each announcement and each piece of news.

It all began with 2012's "The Hunger Games," which wrestled itself into the cultural conversation with a radically unconventional approach to blockbuster thrills. Instead of using escapist awe or bloated special effects, the first movie in the series captivated audiences with stark, distressing storytelling, unabashed political subtext, and uniquely memorable characters. Katniss Everdeen herself became an avatar for youth rebellion worldwide, and the likes of Effie Trinket and President Coriolanus Snow mobilized mass fan attention in one form or another for years on end.

But the unsung hero of "The Hunger Games," without whom the tone for the entire franchise wouldn't have been set and its plot would never have unfolded the way it did, was Rue. The female tribute of the impoverished District 11, Rue becomes friends with Katniss and teams up with her in an effort to survive the Games together; her compassion and pureness of heart send shockwaves of revolt against the Games across the whole nation of Panem. But who was the actor who played Rue?

Rue was played by the incredibly talented Amandla Stenberg

There couldn't have been a more perfect fit for the part of Rue. American actor Amandla Stenberg, who was 13 at the time of filming "The Hunger Games," has since gone on to showcase incredible charisma and acting skills across a variety of projects, and proven that's she's also a hero in her own right in real life.

As an actor, Stenberg built on the success of "The Hunger Games" with multiple film and TV credits that pegged her as one of her generation's brightest new stars. She made a memorable appearance in Beyoncé's "Lemonade" visual album, teamed up with Nick Robinson to bring teens all over the world to tears in the romantic drama "Everything, Everything," and was a regular cast member with an episode all to herself on the acclaimed Netflix miniseries "The Eddy."

Her most notable role, however, was in "The Hate U Give," an urgent, finely-wrought drama about the reality of police brutality against Black teens and its cascading effect on everyday American life. As Starr Carter, a middle-class teen girl who awakens to the insidiousness of the issue and vows to make a difference in her community, Stenberg gave voice to a generation of young Black activists who are transforming the conversation around police violence and systemic racism; she won multiple awards for her performance.

Outside of acting, Stenberg, who is gay and non-binary, has also become a prominent figure in LGBT activism, proving that her positive impact on the world won't be limited to fearless and empathetic screen acting — though she's plenty excellent at that, too.