Jena Malone + Philip Seymour Hoffman Cast in 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Casting for The Hunger Games' sequel, Catching Fire, has begun-and Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman are its first new members!

Jena Malone + Philip Seymour Hoffman Cast in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Casting for The Hunger Games’ sequel, Catching Fire, has begun—and Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman are its first new members!

-Lucia Peters

Jena Malone Philip Seymour Hoffman

Are you ready to head into the arena again? Because Hollywood certainly is: The first pieces of casting for the next Hunger Games flick, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, have begun trickling in. May the odds… well, you know the drill.

The second novel in Suzanne Collins’ hit series, Catching Fire, introduces us to a whole host of intriguing new characters, so perhaps unsurprisingly, we can’t wait to see how their big screen incarnations will match up. First up: The Hollywood Reporter stated last week that Jena Malone had been offered the role of snarky District 7 Tribute Johanna Mason. For a while there, it was looking like an arena-worthy battle was brewing between Jena and the other frontrunner for the role, model-actress Zoe Aggeliki; and although unknowns have proven in the past to be quite effective (everyone’s got to start somewhere!), we’ll admit that we’re glad Jena won out. Sucker Punch aside, she’s a capable actress with a penchant for picking interesting projects, and she’s definitely got the edge that will make the role work. She was most recently seen in Hatfields & McCoys, the History Channel’s miniseries about the real-life Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Something to note: Johanna’s first appearance in the novel involves her stripping down to her birthday suit in an effort to make Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) as uncomfortable as possible. Given that the movies are dead set on keeping a PG-13 rating, much speculation has already sparked up as to whether this scene will be kept intact. Only time will tell, eh?

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So who’s the second character who may have found an actor? Plutarch Heavensbee, Seneca Crane’s successor as Head Gamemaker for the Hunger Games who may not be all that he seems. The actor, of course, is Philip Seymour Hoffman, which should have most of us jumping up and down with glee. According to E! Online, Hoffman was offered the role on June 11 and the deal was made right before the 4th of July.

As excited as we are, though, it’s worth noting that these casting decisions are still subject to change; the studio in charge of The Hunger Games films, Lionsgate, doesn’t generally comment on casting until the official notices go out. An announcement about Hoffman is expected any day now; but although Jena has reportedly been offered Johanna, she’s still in negotiations, so it’s always possible that the deal will fall through. We really hope it doesn’t, though!

Catching Fire is set to start filming this fall so as not to conflict with star Jennifer Lawrence’s shooting schedule for the sequel to X-Men: First Class. It’s intended for a November 22, 2013 release.

Tell us: Who would you cast in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire?

Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.

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