Tag Archives: Catching Fire

Francis Lawrence Signs On To Direct Mockingjay Part 1 and 2

When Gary Ross left the The Hunger Games franchise after the first film, it was up in the air whether or not new director Francis Lawrence would stick around. Thankfully, he recently announced that he would be also helming the two part adaptation of the final novel, Mockingjay. 

Lawrence came in to take over directing the second adaptation of Catching Fire which is currently filming in Atlanta.

Franchise star, Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, commented on the new director saying,

“He’s fantastic. He’s such a smart guy. He has some great ideas for the movie. I just really like where his head is at. I really like him a lot.”

Catching Fire also sees the addition of several new cast members as fans are given a whole new set of tributes for the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell. Main cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks also return.

New cast members include Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, Lynn Cohen as Mags, Meta Golding as Enobaria, Bruno Gunn as Brutus, Alan Ritchson as Gloss, E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff, Maria Howell as Seeder, Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere.

Catching Fire will hit theaters on November 22, 2013.

Jena Malone

Jena Malone ‘Catching Fire’ Talks Intense Training

Jena Malone

Last March The Hunger Games took cinemas by storm. The hot, action sequel, Catching Fire makes its debut November 22, 2013. Although the stars who survived The Hunger Games and live on to tell their tales will be returning, Catching Fire also brings with it some new faces. One of those fresh faces belongs to 27-year-old Jena Malone. She’s on fire in more ways than one.

The Hunger Games trilogy is bloody popular. I know several men who have read the popular young adult dystopian series penned by Suzanne Collins, and I just can’t say that about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, nor her stand alone work, The Host. The material is action-packed, easy to relate to, at times harrowing, and delivered via the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a strong, capable, flawed character men and women both seem to love. I say all that to say this: Who doesn’t want to be a member of the cast for the film adaptations? That makes the actors actually chosen for films feel pretty lucky. Jena Malone is no exception.

I’m very excited as well, it’s going to be great,” Malone said. “I just love the books so much. I literally read all three in four days and just was crying at the end. I’m really, really excited to be a part of it.”

Many of us have similar stories about the way we first read The Hunger Games. There’s something shared, something universal about these books.

Malone gets the chance to bring to life District 7’s Johanna Mason. Most of Suzanne Collins’ characters are multi-layered and complex, but Johanna is also fearless, raucous and sexy. For that reason, Malone was an excellent choice to play her. She not only has a feisty side, but she has the acting chops to play real depth. If any actress is going to fit into the shoes of a lady who intimidates Katniss, it’s Malone. Malone also has some experience with physical work and that’s coming in handy right about now.

Oh yeah, I’m in the thick of [training] but excited,” she said. “I love that kind of stuff. Sucker Punch kind of got me into a regimen and now I kind of crave it.”

Johanna Mason is a former Hunger Games tribute and champion of the Games. This means she’s a bit older than Katniss and has become a mentor to new tributes. That mentor role, the role Haymich played for Katniss and Peeta, is also a role the District 12 sweethearts, the archer and the baker, get to play moving forward. Mind you, Johanna may have an axe to grind. Follow my logic. If she’s a mentor, and Katniss and Peeta won the last Games, they likely killed the Tributes Mason was mentoring. Oops.

Johanna also gets more and more involved as we go deeper into the story.

In Catching Fire audiences will become familiar with the Quarter Quell, a set of Games with especially treacherous circumstances. As if they weren’t terrible enough already? This year President Snow will decree that former winners get put back in the lottery to compete in the horror yet again. That means Haymitch’s name could be drawn…or Katniss or Peeta’s! And yes, Johanna will be back in contention to be drawn within her district, too.

The only sad bit of news is that Kristen Bell, who is obsessed with The Hunger Games, won’t be playing Johanna Mason. I think she also could have done a good job with the role.

Catching Fire will be directed by Francis Lawrence. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth reprise their roles. Phillip Seymour Hoffman has been cast as new Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. Sam Claflin won the much coveted role of Finnick Odair.

Jeffrey Wright confirmed as Beetee in Catching Fire

The Hunger Games was one of the biggest films of 2012 and you can bet the sequel, Catching Fire, will likewise set fans a-flame. As we are counting down to the November 22nd, 2013 release date, final casting decisions continue to pour in. The character of the hour is Beetee, a tribute from District 3. Actor Jeffrey Wright has won the role.

You heard the exciting news right here when the much-anticipated and highly coveted role of literary hottie Finnick Odair, finally went to actor Sam Claflin. In my opinion, the choice of Claflin has been the most controversial. Do you think the actor, who many have said they barely noticed opposite Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth in Snow White and the Huntsman, can pull of playing the charismatic and complex role of Finnick?

As for Jeffrey Wright, film fanatics should recognize the actor’s face. He has appeared in Source Code and Syriana and has played the character of Felix, James Bond’s American pal, in both Casino Royale and in Quantum Of Solace. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed Wright’s name mentioned in conjunction with the new Bond film, Skyfall. That’s too bad.

In 2008 he brought to life the musician, Muddy Waters, in Cadillac Records and even has a Tony Award thanks to his work in Angels in America.

I particularly enjoyed Wright’s work in The Ides of March, where he had the chance to play a quite unlikable senator. Sometimes it’s those flawed characters that allow actors to flex even more theatrical muscle.

If you have yet to read the Suzanne Collins penned sequel to The Hunger Games, you are probably thinking Wright seems a wee bit older than your average Tribute. You’re correct. Without giving too much away, I can tell you one of the prominent features of the second installment of the Games is an event called the Quarter Quell. It occurs every 25 years and is an excuse for the Gamemakers from the Capital to be extra nasty.

Their cruelty allows Katniss and Peeta to meet former champions from the other Districts. Among these are a pair nicknamed Nuts and Volts. The real names of Nuts and Volts are Wiress and Beetee. District 3, their home, is famous for the production of electronics. Beetee is a very intelligent man whose importance continues on through the rest of the series. I think this was really stellar casting. I can picture Wright sinking his teeth into this role and disappearing into character.

Of course, most of the casting thus far has been particularly wonderful. This is what happens when a book adaptation is fortunate enough to get a team of filmmakers who genuinely care about getting things right.

What I also is love is the onslaught of “serious” actors being attached to the film. Case in point is critically acclaimed thespian, Phillip Seymour Hoffman joining the cast as Plutarch Heavensbee. Hey, how do you like that? Hoffman was also a part of the political thriller The Ides of March, opposite Wright, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Plutarch becomes the new Head Gamemaker after Seneca Crane, Gamemaker from the first film, is executed for being such a royal screw up. Crane was, of course, acted by actor Wes Bentley.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be directed by Francis Lawrence. His previous films include I am Legend, starring Will Smith, and Water for Elephants, starring Robert Pattinson.

Sam Claflin Officially Confirmed As Finnick Odair In Catching Fire

After weeks of rumors that Sam Claflin had been offered the role of trident wielding hunk Finnick Odair in Catching Fire, Lionsgate has officially confirmed that he will play the role.

Claflin, most known for his role on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is one of the final tributes to have been cast for the upcoming sequel. Finnick is a previous victor from the 65th Hunger Games when he was just 14. He is known for his proficiency with a trident as well as being a strong swimmer. He is charming and incredibly handsome and is used by the Capitol because of his good looks.

The role of Finnick had several rumors over the months of who would gain the pivotale role. Actors such as Taylor Kitsch and Garrett Hedlund were thrown about at different points.

Claflin joins fellow newcomers Jena Malone as Johanna Mason and Lynn Cohen as Mags(an elderly ally of Finnick’s), as well as returning players Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. Directed by Francis Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” sets screens ablaze on November 22, 2013.

Josh Hutcherson Talks Catching Fire

The Hunger Games official DVD was released this week and recently the star of the film and subsequent films, Josh Hutcherson sat down and answered questions about the world phenomenon series.

Hutcherson plays Peeta Mellark, the fellows District 12 tribute alongside Katniss Everdeen. But just because he has been in the media for a while already doesn’t mean he isn’t still nervous.

“I was really nervous about it to be honest,” Hutcherson said about embarking on the film franchise, based on a trilogy of best-selling books by Suzanne Collins. “It’s crazy because living up to ‘The Hunger Games‘ coming out, everybody was talking about how it’s going to change everything, your whole life — it’s going to be so different,” he explained. “I like my life! I didn’t want that to happen and it didn’t… I’m still me and I’m still doing my normal things that I have always done.”

Hutcherson also spoke about the fans of the series and their passion.

“‘Hunger Games fans’ are ravenous and extremely passionate.  They’re the absolute best,” he said.

And when he says passionate, he isn’t lying.  Hutcherson remembered a time when fans showed up at his home in Kentucky.

“I had a couple of fans who showed at my doorstep in Kentucky,” he said, adding that they arrived the day after Christmas last year. “They just wanted to meet me and say ‘hi.’ They were freaking out and crying.  They drove eight hours on the chance that I might be home…  That was intense.  I was like, ‘Whoa!  This is my home in Kentucky.  Why are you here?’  It was crazy.  There are some crazy fans out there.”

Now that the DVD has been released, Hutcherson is looking toward the future and the filming of Catching Fire, the second film in the series.

I’m so excited it’s finally here, the time to start making it is finally here. I can’t wait to get shooting.” Given that a script didn’t exist just a few short months ago, it’s hard to believe everything is, in fact, prepped. But it is, according to Hutcherson: “I do have a script in hand and it’s awesome.  I love it so much,” Hutcherson confirmed, revealing that he met with newly-installed director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend,” 2007, “Water for Elephants,” 2011) to discuss the film’s vision. “We talked about how important it was to really make the movie version of the book and that was Francis’s goal from day one — and the script definitely portrays that.  It’s a very true-to-the-book rendition of the movie.”

Hutcherson also confirmed that fans will see a bigger and buffer Peeta this time around.

 “I’ve been working out a lot, getting back in the right shape for the role — because this last year, I sort of split my time and enjoyed myself — so I’ve been paying for that for the last month-and-a-half or so, getting back into the gym and eating healthy,” Hutcherson said.

One of the most enticing subplots of the series is the love triangle between the lead characters, Peeta, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

“It’s such a tough position that I know Peeta is put in where he is in absolute love with this girl and she acts like she’s in love with him, but he knows that she isn’t — and that is heartbreaking. As an actor, it’s something that I’m really excited play because it’s such a a conflicting emotion… It’s a very conflicting, confusing kind of thing and I can’t wait to play it out.  It’s really, really intense and exciting, I think.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set to be released in theaters November 22, 2013. Filming will begin soon and will see all the lead characters returning.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Casts Another Tribute: Cashmere

Lionsgate has been having a field day releasing the names of each new tribute one by one. Today they have announced that Stephanie Leigh Schlund has been cast in the role of Cashmere, the former female victor from District 1 who is reaped along side her brother Gloss.

Cashmere and Gloss are both tributes for the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell, a special anniversary Games in which all the tributes are former victors. Cashmere and Gloss ( to be played by Alan Ritchson) had won their games fairly recently as Katniss remembers watching them when she was younger. Both are in their mid twenties and a part of the career pack. On Day 2 of the Third Quarter Quell, both are killed by Johanna and Katniss. Katniss shoots an arrow into Gloss’ right temple, while Johanna Mason throws an axe into Cashmere’s chest.

Stephanie Leigh Schlund is best known for appearing in several television series including “Drop Dead Diva,” and films including The Last Song. She can next be seen in the upcoming Fox series “The Following,” premiering this fall.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up right after the first novel as Katniss and Peeta deal with the aftermath of returning home both as Victors. However, 6 months after returning home, they must embark on a victory tour throughout all the Districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

The film will be directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel is the second of the series written by Suzanne Collins.

Lionsgate will release The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on November 22, 2013.

The Hunger Games On Track To Being A Bestseller of 2012

The Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, a wildly popular young adult series which spawned a $680 million-grossing film, has passed a publishing milestone which puts it on track to become one of the bestselling books of 2012.

More than 50 million copies of the book exist in both print and digital formats, a number which has more than doubled since the beginning of the year wh­­en there were 23.5 million copies in print.

The book’s high sales were, according to E! News, no doubt due to the Jennifer Lawrence-starring film released this year.

Scholastic, the series’ publisher, reported that sales break down into 23 million copies of The Hunger Games, 14 million copies of Catching Fire, and 13 million copies of the series ender, Mockingjay. 

The books have been on the New York Times best-seller list for 200 consecutive weeks.

“Readers across the nation are captivated by the rich world and strong characters Suzanne Collins has created,” Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic, said in a statement. “It’s thrilling to see teen and adult readers enthralled by the same story and engaged in conversation about these books.”

The big-screen adaptation of Catching Fire is set to begin soon with Lionsgate announcing new additions to the cast everyday. The film will also see the return of main cast members, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks.

The Hunger Games isn’t the only series flying off of shelves; E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has surpassed the 20 million mark, possibly due to the buzz surrounding its recent movie deal and it’s “mommy porn” characterization.

Alan Ritchson and Bruno Gunn Cast In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Another tribute is cast, according to Lionsgate, in the upcoming adaptation, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The latest actor to join the sequel film is Alan Ritchson who is set to play a District 1 tribute named Gloss.

Like all the tributes in the 75th Annual Hunger Games (and the third Quarter Quell), Gloss is a former victor returning to the arena along side his sister Cashmere, who has not yet been cast. Gloss and his sister are relatively new winners of the games, as Katniss remembers watching them win when she was younger.

Ritchson has already taken to twitter to express his excitment for being involved in such a high profile film. He tweeted,

 “No words can express…To have the opportunity to portray Gloss in @TheHungerGames. To be a part of this great trilogy…just…so grateful. “

Fans may recognized Ritchson from his reoccuring roles in hit television shows such as “Smallville” and “Blue Mountain State,” as well as a handful of TV guest spots and feature film credits, including Spring Break ’83 and Fired Up!

Also announced this week was the casting of Bruno Gunn as Brutus in the project. Brutus was the male tribute from District 2 and is enthusiastic to get back into the arena. He won his Hunger Games shortly after Haymitch.

Ritchson and Gunn join fellow tributes Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Lynn Cohen as Mags, and Meta Golding as Enobaria. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks will also reprise their roles as Haymitch and Effie respectively.

Filming on Catching Fire is expected to begin next month in Atlanta, with the film set for release November 22, 2013.

Meta Golding Cast As Enobaria In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has almost finished casting all the new members with their recent announcement that Meta Golding will play Enobaria in the next adaptation.

Lionsgate announced Tuesday that the actress had been cast in the role of the brutal and heartless tribute from District 2. Golding is most known for her regular role in ABC’s Day Break along with recurring roles in CSICriminal Minds and House.

In the novel, Catching Fire, written by Suzanne Collins, Enobaria gained attention and notoriety  for ripping open another tribute’s throat with her teeth in the 62nd Hunger Games. She later had her teeth cosmetically altered to resemble fangs. Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) meets the vicious tribute when she is pulled into a special 75th Hunger Games, called the Quarter Quell, where she comes across Enobaria, a fellow victor.

Golding joins main cast members Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as Effie. New cast members also include Jena Malone as Johanna Mason,Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Lynn Cohen as Mags and Tony Shaloub as Beetee. The role of Finnick Odair is still unfilled according to Lionsgate.

Philip Seymour Hoffman On Plutarch Heavensbee and Catching Fire

Lionsgate announced a few weeks ago that the role of Plutarch Heavensbee has been cast with the role being filled by renowned actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Many were surprised by this casting as Hoffman is most known for his serious roles in films such as “Doubt,” “The Ides of March,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Capote,” and “Cold Mountain.” (Though he was also gold in the comedy film Along Came Polly.) 

Hoffman recently spoke about why he chose the role. A major fact, he explained, was the character he would be portraying.

“I liked the people involved. It’s a great group of actors. It’s a great environment. And the character was something I was attracted to. It was just an interesting role,” Hoffman recently told EW.com.

Plutarch becomes the head gamemaker during the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell in Catching Fire and eventually helps the main character Katniss.

“He’s somebody who’s part of the revolution, but you don’t know it. The idea that somebody would be risking themselves in such an extreme way to join something that’s that dangerous because he thinks it’s the future…that’s interesting stuff, you know?” he continued.

Before taking the role, Hoffman revealed he hadn’t even read the novels. However, once offered, he read the entire series and watched the first film to catch up.

 “It’s good. I’ve read the script, which is true to the book — I kinda ruined it for myself. But I’m reading it anyway, because I really want to find out everything I need to know about this guy,” Hoffman said in the interview.

Hoffman is expected to return for Mockingjay part 1 and 2, a two part film based on the third and final novel.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is due out in theaters Nov. 22, 2013.