After weeks of almost-cruel teasing, Lionsgate has finally confirmed the casting of Jena Malone as Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — as well as the two movies adapting Mockingjay. And I could not be happier! I love Jena and think she will be a hit with fans of the books.
Johanna, the Tribute with “a wicked ability to murder,” is a fan-favorite character, and the hiring of Jena, a serious actress with top-shelf fighting skills, sends a strong message about the filmmakers’ intentions to do right by the book and the fans. Jena is perfect for the role — when I was reading Catching Fire, I was personally imaging either Jena or Emily Browning in the role. Jena can convey both the vulnerability and the savagery that Johanna used to manipulate and then kill her fellow tributes and win her Games.
For a little taste of the kind of action chops Jena is bringing to Johanna, check out this short clip of Jena as Rocket from Sucker Punch:
Did you notice that little smile before Rocket stalked down the trench, and then how she wielded her pistol like a hatchet?