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.