You wanted The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting news? You got it! Not only do we have a confirmed Wiress, but apparently the options for the roles of Mags, Beetee and Finnick have been narrowed down, too.
First came the official word that Amanda Plummer is joining up as Wiress, a District 3 victor who’s a bit off and, therefore, dubbed “Nuts” by Johanna Mason. She’s the daughter of the incredibly esteemed Christopher Plummer and has a slew of credits to her name, but considering I can’t recall her performance from a single one, it’s tough to judge her acting ability. Then again, all she’s really got to do is run around saying, “Tick, tock.” Physically though, she does fit what I pictured – she’s in her 50s, is just 5’4” and has a look that can sell intelligence, but also suggests she could play off-kilter as well. (No, I’m not being mean; scroll through some of her IMDb photos!)
Before we even had a moment to digest that big news, in comes a rumor about the casting of Finnick Odair, Zap2it reporting that Sam Claflin has snagged the role. I might have written this one off as mere gossip, however, shortly after, Variety reports that Claflin is indeed the filmmakers’ top choice for the dashing District 4 victor. On top of that, the article also notes that Tony Shalhoub is the frontrunner to play another District 3 victor, Beetee, and Melissa Leo was supposedly on the shortlist for District 4 victor, Mags, but her reps say she isn’t getting the part.
Claflin as Finnick? With a little hair dye I can see it, but his acting ability is a different story. So far, Claflin’s been featured in two big-budget productions, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Snow White and the Huntsman, and didn’t offer up a memorable performance in either. Is that his fault? Probably not, as neither film boasted a solid script. Perhaps it’s time to give The Pillars of the Earth or White Heat a go to get a better sense of his ability.
I find myself in a similar position with Shalhoub. Of course I’ve seen many of his films, but none offer anything to suggest he’s the right choice for Beetee. Until I plow through a little Monk, all I’ve got to go on is that, well, he’s a bit nerdy looking. Even though Leo apparently isn’t getting the role of Mags, it’s worth bringing up, as the fact that she’s on the shortlist at all suggests that Mags won’t be as old as she’s written in the work, though the actress playing her might endure a heavy makeup job and the role might get beefed up quite a bit if the studio’s got its eyes on Academy Award winners.
The Hunger Games news continues with a report from IndieWire claiming that the folks at Lionsgate, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger of Summit, producer Nina Jacobson, and author Suzanne Collins are already on the hunt for directors for the two Mockingjay films. So as to not find themselves in a bind when Catching Fire hits, they’re making a smart move and getting a head start. Now the question is, who could they possibly have their eyes on?
Don’t worry, I’m not serious. Before we even take a step in that direction, let’s keep our focus on the Catching Fire casting escapade. What are your thoughts on Plummer, Claflin, Shalhoub and Leo? And keep in mind, “on the shortlist” doesn’t necessarily mean an offer will go out. We all remember the Zoe Aggeliki frenzy, right?