A bunch of Hunger Games news hit the Interwebs over the past few days, and while I’m not the biggest Suzanne Collins fan in the world, her Battle Royale – meets – 1984 saga is infinitely superior than the execrable Twilight franchise, so I felt I should report on it.
Firstly, the sequel Catching Fire added two cast members: Jena Malone — best known as Donnie Darko’s girlfriend, and Rocket from Zack Snyder’s horrible Sucker Punch — will play Johanna Mason, a “strong-willed tribute” in the next Games. I haven’t read the second book, so I can’t really comment on how suitable for the role she is, but I do know that Malone has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time. She’s super beautiful, of course, but as an actress she has the very natural ability to flip from sexy to vulnerable on a dime. It’s just a shame she hasn’t been given the greatest material to work with, or had an opportunity at a truly breakout role.
Meanwhile, Scotty from Boogie Nights, a.k.a. Philip Seymour Hoffman, has been cast in the role of Plutarch Heavensbee — the head “gamemaker” for the new survial contest in Catching Fire. Again, I can’t comment on if he is the right choice for the part, but if you’ve seen virtually anything he’s in, then you know Hoffman is an incredible actor who adds layers and dimensions to all of the characters he plays.
Lastly — and this move should come as a surprise to absolutely no one — Lionsgate is going to split the final book in the series Mockingjay, into two films, which will be released in November of 2014 and 2015. This was done in order to preserve the integrity of Collins’ story, and to ensure that the film captured every dramatic and powerful character moment from the hugely popular saga. Just kidding! It was done so that the studio could milk more money out the series. Look for Catching Fire in theaters in November, 2013.