Philip Seymour Hoffman has officially signed on the dotted line to appear in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — and, presumably, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, parts 1 and 2, according to Lionsgate Films. Hoffman will portray Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker who takes over after the debacle that was Seneca Crane’s 74th Hunger Games (in the first movie). Plutarch has the task of creating the 75th Hunger Games, which will be a special Quarter Quell.
The casting means at least one Oscar winner will appear alongside Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen in the first sequel to The Hunger Games. Production on the follow-up is set to begin in September for a November 2013 release, so additional casting should be coming quickly now.
The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly both reported just a few days ago that Jena Malone (Rocket, Sucker Punch) had been offered the key role of Johanna Mason, and was in negotiations to sign. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I would dearly love to see Jena land this role, as she has been one of my favorite fantasy actresses ever since she featured in Donnie Darko.
Malone was last seen on the History channel in the epic miniseries HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, playing the calculating Nancy — and that experience would come in handy playing the cagey Johanna. The District 7 victor won her Games by flying under the radar and pretending to be no threat until she was in position to strike.
Sadly, I’m still hearing that the final book, Mockingjay, will be split into two movies
in order to cash in in order to er… give the book the adaptation it deserves. But I still don’t see how that could work, since the novel is so thin on story. How will they possibly break it up to make two interesting films? The-powers-that-be will have to manufacture a lot of original material! And making two flicks is such a transparent money-grab that I’m sure there will be humongous blowback from the fan community. Perhaps that will stop the Capitol Lionsgate Films from giving us more of what we don’t want.