As soon as die-hard fans left the cinematic premiere of The Hunger Games back in March, their minds drifted to the possibilities for the next installment in the series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The first film has already been praised for its incredible casting choices (aside from fans who will never be happy unless it looks exactly like it does in their dreams every night), and the cast for the sequel is looking even greater. With the recent announcement of Sam Claflin being cast as the dashing Finnick Odair, fans are aching to see who will round out the cast of tributes for the next movie. For now, let’s recap the new additions to the Hunger Games cast. WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
The first addition to the incredibly popular film series is experienced actress Jena Malone, who will be playing Johanna Mason. You might remember her best as the love interest in the 2001 film Donnie Darko, but she’s proven herself a formidable actress since her film debut at the age of 12. Malone has always taken an interest in more indie projects than other actors of her caliber, but has also proven her mainstream ability with roles in Contact, Stepmom, and Sucker Punch. She most recently starred in the acclaimed miniseries Hatfields & McCoys as the selfish, conniving McCoy cousin whose sole preoccupation is revenge. This makes her an ideal choice for the role of Johanna; the often cold and mean Career that proves both an interesting challenge and eventual friend to Katniss and Peeta.
Next up is Amanda Plummer, who has distinguished herself as a terrific, quirky actress apart from her famous folks, Christopher Plummer and Tammy Grimes. You might remember her best as “Honey Bunny” from Pulp Fiction, but she’s also had great roles in The Fisher King, The World According to Garp, and Daniel. Plummer is terrific at playing eccentric, slightly off characters, as many will remember from her terrific performance as Rose in So I Married an Axe Murderer “Rose, jailbird. Happy in her cage, no longer full of rage. She roosts.”). So it makes perfect sense that she was cast as Wiress, the shy and odd inventor who figures out the workings of the arena before she’s brutally murdered by Gloss.
The most popular actor to join the cast of Catching Fire is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman will be playing Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker and secret saboteur of the Hunger Games. Phillip Seymour Hoffman has had a long and illustrious career, including astounding performances in Boogie Nights, Capote, Magnolia, Doubt, and dozens of other fine films. He can also show a lighter side, as he’s shown in movies like Along Came Polly (“White chocolate!”). His range and diversity as an actor are great for playing Heavensbee, and he’ll need both a superficial demeanor and fierce intensity to perfect the role.
And then there’s Sam Claflin. His career is only two years old, so many audiences might not recognize him right away, but the British actor’s good looks and undeniable charm are making him a skyrocketing star. He’s appeared in the popular British miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and United, but his breakout roles have come from bigger Hollywood pictures. In 2011 he played Philip Swift in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, opposite Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, and this year he was cast as the brave Prince William in Snow White and the Huntsman. All that experience as a love interest (and as a great actor) make him more than qualified for the role of the seemingly shallow, yet tortured, Finnick Odair, who ends up becoming the poster boy for the revolution and an ally to Katniss and Peeta.
Some lesser known actors will also be joining the cast as tributes, including Stephanie Leigh Schlund (The Last Song) and Alan Ritchson (Blue Mountain State), as the brother/sister team of Cashmere and Gloss; E. Roger Mitchell (Battle: Los Angeles) as Chaff; and Meta Golding (Day Break) as Enobaria. Even Lynn Cohen, who played Magda in Sex and the City, will be joining the cast as Mags, the former Hunger Games winner and Finnick Odair’s former mentor.
Other than Tony Shaloub being rumored to play Beetee, the clever gadget maker, fans will just have to wait for more information on casting for other characters like Blight, Cecilia, and Woof. Catching Fire is set to come out on November 22, 2013, so until then keep checking the Eventful blog for any upcoming Hunger Games news.