Note: Scroll down for the latest casting announcements, listed by date
Lionsgate really knows how to put on a show. Ever since the confirmation of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s casting as Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee last month, we’ve had a fairly steady stream of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting announcements. News of Amanda Plummer joining as District 3 victor, Wiress, arrived just about a week after Hoffman, and then came word of Jena Malone snagging the role of District 7 victor, Johanna Mason. While every casting addition is worth noting, when you’ve got a movie involving 24 different tributes on top of a number of other characters, it can be pretty tough to keep track of everyone. Lucky for those of you who aren’t wholly consumed by The Hunger Games series or maybe just haven’t read the books, we’ve got a rundown of where we stand on every role.
While we still haven’t gotten our Finnick, the past week has brought three new additions. Of the bunch, the first out of the gate was Lynn Cohen as Mags, the District 4 victor. Cohen has a very lengthy resume, but I’m embarrassed to admit, the only thing I instinctively recognized her from is her role as Magda in Sex and the City. Clearly no line can be drawn between that and someone who managed to win the Hunger Games, so that leaves us judging Cohen’s casting based on looks alone and as far as that goes, she’s definitely a winner. Mags is described as an “elderly woman” who’s possibly had a stroke, which left her with “garbled speech” on top of her District 4 accent. What makes her deadly and a survivor in her later years? Apparently she can make a fishhook with just about anything.
However, if we’re talking deadly, we’ve got to look at the District 2 victor Enobaria. Meta Golding was the next to join the cast after Cohen, stepping in as a Hunger Games winner who got the job done by ripping open an opponent’s throat with her teeth. In honor of that unforgettable grand finale, Enobaria had her teeth altered so each has a sharp point and is inlaid with gold. While I’m very curious to see whether or not the filmmakers follow through with that tidbit, Golding seems to have just about everything else covered all on her own.
She once was an Italian National figure skater and despite the injury that sidelined her from the sport, I’d like to bet fitness is still a top priority. Performance-wise she’s accumulated a number of credits, none of which I’m familiar with, but all of which are now worth seeking out. A nice bonus is Golding’s focus on giving back, spending her spare time lending a hand at an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. What does that have to do with Catching Fire? Nothing, but isn’t it nice to know that good people are earning these coveted roles?
To wrap up the most recent casting announcements we move on to another District 2 victor, someone who volunteered for his Hunger Games, Brutus. At the time of “Catching Fire,” Katniss suspects Brutus is 40 years old, but still looks ripe for the arena, and would you want to go into the arena with a guy that looks like Bruno Gunn? Yet again, the fact that I’m not familiar with any of his work keeps me from passing judgment on his acting ability, but something about the fact that the guy’s name is Bruno and that he once appeared on the show Oz makes me think he could be perfect for this part.
UPDATE 8/9/12 - Alan Ritchson will play Gloss
District 1 tributes are known to be deadly contenders in the arena, but hailing from the region of luxury items, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re not bad to look at, too, and Alan Ritchson most certainly fits that bill. Like most of the other Hunger Games: Catching Fire newcomers, Ritchson has yet to become a famous face and while he does have a lengthy list of titles to his name, few are well known so it’s back to the looks department. That photo on the Catching Fire casting page doesn’t do him justice. Take a minute to scroll through his collection of images on IMDb and you’ll get a sense of how powerful a guy like Ritchson could be in the Hunger Games and why he’s an excellent fit for the role of the District 1 Gloss.
UPDATE 8/10/12 – E. Roger Mitchell Will Play Chaff
As you can tell by Rue and Katniss’ relationship in The Hunger Games
, District 11 and District 12 share similar values and aren’t about to go wipe each other out for the sake of the Hunger Games, so it should come as no surprise that District 11’s Chaff
is one of Haymitch’s few friends amongst the Victors. Chaff is dark skinned, about six feet tall and has just one hand because he lost the other fighting in the Hunger Games 30 years ago. Yet again we get an actor with a lengthy resume with few well-known credits, but should E. Roger Mitchell
follow in the footsteps of The Hunger Games’
Rue and Thresh, Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi, that won’t be the case for long.
UPDATE 8/13/12 – Maria Howell Will Play Seeder
The trend continues, with the role of District 11’s Seeder being filled by an actress with a lengthy and solid resume, but one without a breakout role. However, should NBC’s Revolution take off in the fall, perhaps Maria Howell will become a more familiar face well before Catching Fire’s November 2013 release. She’s due to step in as the Hunger Games victor who’s described as having olive skin, straight black hair streaked with silver and golden brown eyes. Katniss estimates that Seeder is about 60 years old, but based on the images found online, Howell looks to be well under that. Regardless, that likely won’t change the fact that in Suzanne Collins’ book, Seeder isn’t as physically fit as the younger victors.
UPDATE 8/14/12 – Stephanie Leigh Schlund Will Play Cashmere
Another pretty face for the pretty district. District 1 may be known for churning out Hunger Games careers, but it’s also known for manufacturing luxury items, so the citizens appreciate the finer things in life far more than most non-Capitol Panem residents. In fact, their love of luxuries goes so far that they name their children after them. In The Hunger Games we got Marvel and Glimmer and this time around, it’s the brother-sister duo, Gloss (Alan Ritchson) and Cashmere. Just like Ritchson, Stephanie Leigh Schlund rocks blond hair and modelesque features, totally selling the relationship. Schlund’s got a roll in the upcoming Fox show The Following, but her casting as Cashmere will undoubtedly garner her some attention well before the fall TV season.
UPDATE 8/22/12 – Sam Claflin Will Play Finnick Odair
Finally! After months of speculation, Lionsgate has made it official: Sam Claflin is the beloved
District 4 victor, Finnick Odair. Finnick is handsome, has bronze hair, famous green eyes and won the 65th Hunger Games at the age of 14. A fan favorite, the fact that Finnick was showered with parachutes during his Games certainly helped, but it was the gift of a trident that really sealed the deal. Some hair dye and contact lenses could certainly do the trick in the looks department, but what’s still rather up in the air is Claflin’s acting ability. I’ve got faith in Francis Lawrence and his team, but all we’ve really got to judge Claflin’s acting chops thus far is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
and Snow White and the Huntsman
, neither of which are very good. Then again, everyone’s got to start somewhere, right? For all we know Claflin could have an Oscar-worthy performance up his sleeve and he just hasn’t been given the right material to show it. There’s got to be a good reason he’s landing so many big roles.
UPDATE 9/7/12 – Jeffrey Wright Will Play Beetee
Beetee is easily one of my favorite characters in the Hunger Games
trilogy, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting his casting. A tech geek at heart, I’ve always felt a connection to District 3 and as a District 3 Hunger Games victor and electronics expert, Beetee is someone I’ve admired. While I always try to look on the bright side, I’ve got to admit there’s something a little disappointing about Jeffrey Wright’s casting. I’ve said it myself time and time again, casting can’t be entirely about looks, but Wright is just not what I pictured for Beetee whatsoever. Despite the fact that he’s a very talented actor, the alteration in the appearance department is jarring. The idea of Tony Shalhoub taking the role wasn’t particularly satisfying either, but as far as looks go, Shalhoub’s somewhat nebbish appearance more closely matched what the book implied. Then again, back on the bright side, Wright is top-notch talent so he should be able to shed the dignified and confident characters he’s played in the past and embody someone who’s fidgety and less of a physical threat.
Clearly now that Lynn Cohen is officially in as Mags, Melissa Leo is long gone. Just after word got out that Cohen snagged the part, Leo told Moviefone, “I would have liked to have done it, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be mine.” When the outlet pointed out that she was in fact correct and Cohen had the role, Leo responded, “Who? Oh, I’ll have to look her up.” No, getting a gig in a Hunger Games movie isn’t equivalent to winning an Academy Award, but, odds are, many won’t need to look up who Lynn Cohen is soon enough.
He isn’t on the official Catching Fire casting page, but a key non-victor/tribute role that still needs to be cast is that of District 12’s new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread. When the district’s lush of a Head Peacekeeper, Cray, mysteriously disappears, the far more ruthless Thread takes his place. He’s described as “a tall, muscular man with sharp creases in his pants,” and, according to Variety, that man could be played by Sons of Anarchy’s Patrick St. Esprit. Considering Lionsgate both refused to comment and has yet to make one of those flashy official announcements for St. Esprit, we can’t assume this to be set in stone just yet.
Check out the full list of roles still in need of filling below.
District 5 Tribute Boy
District 5 Tribute Girl
District 6 Tribute Boy: Dubbed a “Morphling,” addicted to medication, bone thin, sagging yellowish skin, overlarge eyes
District 6 Tribute Girl: Same descriptor as the boy
Blight: District 7 victor
Woof: District 8 victor, older, hard of hearing
Cecelia: District 8 victor, about 30, mother of three
District 9 Tribute Boy
District 9 Tribute Girl
District 10 Tribute Boy
District 10 Tribute Girl