With “The Hunger Games” becoming one of the few page-to-screen adaptations to be praised by critics and a box-office smash hit, it’s unsurprising that all eyes are now focused on the next flick in the series – “Catching Fire”.
“Catching Fire” picks up a few months after the end of “The Hunger Games”, where Victors Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark must embark on the traditional Victory Tour of Panem.
With her rags-to-riches story and fiery spirit, Katniss unwittingly finds herself the face of a burgeoning rebellion amongst the Districts; something she must attempt to suppress if she is to avoid the wrath of fascist dictator President Snow.
However, things take an even more disastrous turn for Katniss and Peeta when the Quarter Quell is announced – a special anniversary games held every 25 years and each with a hellish twist designed to impact the tributes in some way. This year, the contestants for the 75th Annual Hunger Games must be selected from the existing pool of Hunger Games Victors.
As Katniss and Peeta are forced back into the arena, they encounter several previous Victors with whom they form close bonds and who become essential to the series’ storyline.
Given the excellent casting from “The Hunger Games”, it is important that director Francis Lawrence follows in Gary Ross’ footsteps of casting actors who are really able to embody all aspects of their character.
Casting news of these new characters has been bubbling away – so here is our list of who’s-who in Catching Fire, and who might be cast to play them.
One of District Four’s previous Victors, Finnick’s most prominent feature is his devastatingly handsome good looks; described as something akin to a god with tanned skin, bronze hair and sea-green eyes, it is implied that his looks were a key factor in his winning the 64th Hunger Games at just 14 years of age. Add to that a winning personality and deadly skills with the fishing tridents from his home District, and Finnick becomes a formidable opponent and a surprise ally to Katniss and Peeta.
Who might play him?
Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) and Garrett Hedlund (“TRON: Legacy”) have frequently been mentioned in casting rumours, although Hunter Parrish and Alex Pettyfer are among fan favourites to be cast in the role.
The only female Victor from District 7, Johanna won her Games by appearing weak and forgettable until the field of tributes narrowed, then revealing her hidden ability to kill viciously. Entirely at home throwing around the wood-cutting axes from her District, Johanna comes across as bitter, acerbic and sarcastic; though she becomes a loyal ally to Katniss and Peeta, she is described as being like “and older sister that hates you”.
Who Might Play Her?
Currently, Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Zoe Aggeliki (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”) have been announced as “in talks” for the role.
An enigmatic character whose true motivations are unknown until the final chapter of “Catching Fire”, Plutarch Heavensbee replaces the executed Seneca Crane as Head Gamemaker for the 75th Annual Hunger Games. Though Katniss is initially confused and repulsed by him, she eventually learns that he is allied with the rebellion and his role is further expanded in “Mockingjay”.
Who Might Play Him?
Reports of Oscar-winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman being cast in the role have begun to fly thick and fast in the last couple of weeks; however, Lionsgate have confirmed nothing.
Though ageing and somewhat frail, Beetee hails from District 3, where he won his Games by managing to electrocute his opponents. A skilled inventor and master of intellect, Beetee’s role in “Catching Fire” is small but crucial; however, he becomes an important player in “Mockingjay”. One of the few allies Katniss actually wanted to team up with, he is rarely seen without fellow District 3 Victor, Wiress.
Who Might Play Him?
Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”) is a current fan-favourite for the role, although Lionsgate has made no comment on the casting at this stage.
Elderly, frail and “about eighty years old”, Mags hails from District Four and was Victor of one of the very first Hunger Games. The somewhat batty older woman has a close relationship with Finnick, and volunteers to enter the Games in order to save Annie Cresta from having to re-enter the Games. Katniss likes her right from the offset, much to the chagrin of everyone but Finnick.
Who Might Play Her?
There are currently few rumours about who might be cast as Mags, although fan speculation has suggested that Cicely Tyson (“The Help”) might contend for the role.
Slightly mad and a little strange, Annie Cresta was originally called as District 4’s Victor to enter the 75th Games, but was later replaced by Mags. It is implied that her participation in an earlier Games is responsible for her fragile mental state, and it is later revealed that she and Finnick share a sweet romantic relationship. Though she appears only briefly in “Catching Fire”, her role as Finnick’s paramour is an important one.
Who Might Play Her?
Casting rumours for Annie have at this stage been incredibly quiet, most likely because she does not play a key role; however, fans have named Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”), Zooey Deschanel (“500 Days of Summer”) and Felicity Jones (”Like Crazy”) as some of their top picks for the role.
Of course, there will also be an entirely new cast of fellow Victor Tributes to also be announced for “Catching Fire” – “classically beautiful” District 1 Victors Cashmere and Gloss, vicious District 2 Victors Brutus and Enobaria, slightly insane Wiress from District 3, the drug-addicted “morphlings” from District 6 and Chaff and Seeder from District 11.
We will update you with more as soon as Lionsgate officially announces its casting decisions.
”Catching Fire” is slated for a November 22, 2013 release.