The time has come! We’ve got our first solid piece of casting news for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire!
Despite rumors that model-actress Zoe Aggeliki was at the top of the list for the part, THR reports that Jena Malone has officially been offered the role of Johanna Mason. No, it’s not a done deal yet, but it’s highly unlikely the talks will conclude with anything but Malone signing on the dotted line.
Catching Fire casting really couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. As a very experienced actress with nearly 50 titles to her name, Malone has proven she can handle just about anything. Considering it’s her most recent big release, the connection between the physicality in The Hunger Games and in Sucker Punch is front and center. But the role of the District 7 tribute will require much more that someone who can handle herself in a fight and wield an axe. Johanna is a curious combination of confidence, recklessness, angst and passion, all of which Malone has exhibited at one point or another.
I’ve refused to watch Stepmom in its entirety since it hit theaters back in 1998, but there’s a good reason for it; it makes me too sad. As a non-crier, any movie with a story and performances powerful enough to make me go from merely tearing up to sobbing only gets re-watched in very calculated bits and pieces. Saved!, on the other hand, is a Malone-starrer that’s on constant repeat. Mary’s got this fantastic blend of innocence and defiance, making her an absolutely magnetizing character – not to mention she’s got one of the most memorable adversaries out there. My love of horror is going to be as evident as ever with this one, but I also can’t stop watching The Ruins. Funny thing is, not only is the jungle-like location in that film possibly similar to what we’ll see in the Catching Fire arena, but Malone is the ultimate weakling-turned-fighter in that one.
Have I convinced you that Malone will make a stellar Johanna? Hopefully, but just in case I missed the bar, The Hunger Games fandom is here to sing her praises - or maybe not.
Savanna - Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Assuming this is true, I am so unbelievably thrilled! I've been "following" Jena Malone's career since she appeared in Donnie Darko in 2001, and I've always been impressed by her performances and by the interesting and challenging choices that she's made. She's incredibly talented, and I know that she'll be able to inject this role with all of the feistiness, badass-ness, and depth that it requires. For those who don't think she looks the part, remember, we know that Johanna has wide-set brown eyes and short brown hair, but that's it. Personally, I'm psyched that Jena is on the petite side, as Johanna won her Games by convincing her competitors that she was weak; it wouldn't really make sense for her to be very tall or muscular. The bottom line is that if you're a great actor, you can look like and be anything or anyone, and Jena truly is great. I, for one, will be resting easy tonight!
Hamilton – My Hunger Games
Jena Malone is not a big name that would have jumped out at me as being a candidate for Johanna. I didn't, in fact, recognize her name despite having seen several movies she's starred in. The two roles that stand out are Mary in Saved! and Rocket in Sucker Punch. In Saved! she plays a girl with some serious internal struggles, dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. In Sucker Punch she kicks some serious arse as an older sister who will give anything and everything to protect her younger sister. She's also not bad looking. Those are all the ingredients we need in Johanna Mason. Combined with the fact that as a lesser known actress she won't bring a lot of preconceptions with her, I think she's a fine - if unexpected - choice and if she accepts the part, I won't be disappointed.
Crystal – Mockingjay.net
While I think Jena is too old to be the book Johanna Mason, it's a movie and therefore allowances have to be made. I get that Jennifer looks much older than she should and so I understand why Johanna has to be aged up. And if aging up helps Garrett Hedlund in any way, I'm all for it! I've only seen Jena in Sucker Punch and Contact (when she was like 12). Sad to say that Sucker Punch really disappointed me. It was all fluff and a total guy's movie, but I definitely think she can pull off the snark and attitude of Johanna. And while I may not have liked Sucker Punch, her role as Rocket is actually similar to Johanna Mason in that she had to play the badass Rocket and her real-life counterpart who was decidedly more weak and vulnerable as a mental patient. (Great for Mockingjay!)
Lindsay – HG Girl On Fire
When Jena Malone was first mentioned as a possibility for Johanna Mason, I think many people were surprised. She's not quite the first person that jumps to mind. However, Jena is a seasoned actress that's got a pretty broad range, and the more time I've had to think on it, the more I like the choice for our Johanna. Jena is one of those actors that you might have recognized, but probably didn't know her name. Most recently she played the seemingly innocent, but out-for-blood Nancy McCoy in the TV mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. She's got snark. She's got attitude, and she's able to play it tough. And rumor is that she really wanted the role. I like where this is going so far.
Amanda – The Hob
Jena Malone as Johanna Mason? Yes, yes, and yes, again. I never thought of Jena for the role, but the moment she was rumored to be in the running, I couldn’t have pictured a better fit. I’ve been a fan of Jena’s since she played a pregnant teen in the 2004 film Saved!, and though she has done some more mainstream films since then – ex. Pride and Prejudice, Sucker Punch – she’s always managed to stay a little under the radar. Perhaps because of her fantastic chameleon like quality, where she fully transforms into the character she’s portraying and you almost forget it’s her (ex. Hatfields and McCoys). This is what would make her a great fit for Johanna – she’s a seasoned actress yet isn’t someone whose previous roles or real-life persona will overshadow the character she’s playing. I have no doubt she could morph into the District 7 Tribute.
Theresa – Down With The Capitol
Admittedly, I have not seen Jena in action, but I have real faith in Lionsgate's ability to select the right actors for the roles. They hit it out of the park with The Hunger Games cast, and there is no reason to believe that Catching Fire will be any different. If Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson (and hopefully Suzanne Collins) believe that Jena has the skill to pull off the complex character of Johanna Mason, who are we to argue?
HG Movie Site
While Jena is not our first choice for Johanna, we trust that the filmmakers know what they're doing. We weren't sold on Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark until we saw him on the big screen. We trust the filmmakers to do justice to this franchise. We have faith and cannot wait to see the finished outcome of Catching Fire.
Adam - The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Is Jena Malone a capable actress? Yes. In fact, she's proven herself to be more than capable throughout her career, playing a variety of roles quite well in many different genres. However, Johanna Mason has not been in her repertoire to date. Lots of fans and colleagues have been touting Sucker Punch as evidence that she can play rough, but I wasn't a huge fan of her performance there, and I think she is more suited for films like Saved! or - in what was an unheralded effort - The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Of course, Lionsgate has proven clairvoyant with some of its past selections, and I'm inclined to give the studio the benefit of the doubt, but surely there was a better prototype out there for a badass exhibitionist. Then again, as Whit Stillman writes in Metropolitan, "Playing strip poker with an exhibitionist somehow takes the challenge away."
Celine - Hunger Games Trilogy
I have only watched one movie Jena Malone starred in. Although I am not very impressed with Sucker Punch, I think Malone's acting was great. She played the role of a rebellious yet vulnerable girl in the movie. Based on what I have seen, I think she'll make a convincing Johanna Mason. In the book, Johanna was described as having wide-set brown eyes and spiky hair. I am sure they can easily transform Malone to how Johanna was described in the book. I can see her acting tough and fierce like Johanna. It's certainly a good decision that they have chosen her for the role.
What do you think? Is Jena Malone the right choice to play Johanna? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!