The big Hunger Games casting news today is the casting of Amanda Plummer. Plummer, perhaps most familiar as ‘Honey Bunny’ in Pulp Fiction, will be playing the role of Wiress (Nuts,) a previous victor of the Hunger Games and an important ally for Katniss and Peeta in Catching Fire.
Meanwhile, Variety reports that Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman) is a leading contender for the key role of Finnick. The fan-casting has been pretty contentious for this role, so things may get a bit testy if this pans out.
Variety also highlights some much less-likely-to-be controversial frontrunners: Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) for Mags, and Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) for Wiress’ cohort Beetee, aka Volts.
I think Plummer is a great choice, and both Leo and Shalhoub would be fantastic (though Leo is rather young for Mags, who’s supposed to be 80-something) and big gets for the production. Claflin I’m not so sure about – I know that many Hunger Games fans were looking in a different direction. Still, there have been much worse choices in the hat for Finnick.
It’s long been rumored that Lionsgate would follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight: Breaking Dawn, but now it’s official: The adaption of the third Hunger Games book will be two movies, Deadline reports.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will debut on November 21, 2014, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 on November 20, 2015. The second adaption, Catching Fire, is slated for November 22, 2013 and due to begin filming early next year.
Does Mockingjay need two movies? Well, it’s not a huge book, ala Deathly Hallows, but there is quite a bit going on that could be expanded on… As we saw in The Hunger Games, opening the story up beyond Katniss’ immediate point of view gives a more detailed version of the story, and of all the books, Mockingjay may have the most spaces to fill. So while, yes, it’s an obvious money-grubbing, franchise expanding move, it could work out very well.
In other Hunger Games news, Lionsgate yesterday confirmed the first casting for Catching Fire: Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) will play Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker. It’s been reported that Jena Malone (Donnie Darko, Sucker Punch) has been offered the role of Johanna Mason.
Lionsgate has selected Francis Lawrence to helm The Hunger Games sequel, says the The Hollywood Reporter. It’s not a sure thing quite yet – just an offer – but this is quick work for the studio, which failed to come to an agreement with Gary Ross earlier in the month.
Lawrence, no relation to star Jennifer Lawrence, is no stranger to adaptions: He directed Water for Elephants (2011,) I Am Legend (2007,) and the much-lamented Constantine (2005.) More in his favor for the world of Hunger Games may be his work the short-lived NBC drama Kings, aka the TV show that Ian McShane did not swear in.
He also directed Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance video. How strangely appropriate…
Word emerged today that Gary Ross won’t be returning to direct Catching Fire, the adaption of the second book.
UPDATE: Deadline Hollywood says, not so fast. UPDATE: Yup, he’s out.
The internet is eager to speculate on who should fill his shoes, and one name that’s been popping up a lot in my feeds is Kathryn Bigelow, who won the directing Oscar a few years back for The Hurt Locker. She’s no stranger to action (Point Break) or sci-fi (Strange Days) so she might be good fit. The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney has a few other suggestions, including Debra Granik, who directed Jennifer Lawrence in the film that nabbed her an Oscar nomination, Winter’s Bone.
In happier news, one potential conflict to the film has been cleared up. The sequel to X-Men: First Class will begin filming in January, freeing up Lawrence to shoot Catching Fire in the fall as scheduled – assuming a director is on board by then!
The Hunger Games is more than living up to box office speculation: With $155 million, now the third-highest domestic debt of all time, and the first that’s not a sequel. (It came in behind only The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.)
The film is, not surprisingly, drawing in more men than Twilight, with women compromising 61% of the opening weekend crowd. (The audience of the last Twilight film was 80% female.) It’s also doing well across the country – a Utah theater had the weekend’s highest gross.
Have you seen it yet? What did you think? Vote in our poll beneath the cut!
The adapation that it seems like everyone has been waiting for is finally in theaters today. It’s been tracking to make obscene amounts of money at the box office, and the reviews are quite positive. Will this finally be the female-lead franchise that doesn’t depend on romance for all its thrills? Here’s hoping.
Some Jaders saw it last night and here’s what they had to say:
Janine went in costume as Katniss – check out the great Hunger Games photo-shoot she did with her family!
I watched Good Morning America to see this ASAP and it was awful. Luckily, the trailer was worth it.
Good news, Hunger Games fans – while the trailer may indeed be attached to Breaking Dawn, it’s due to be old news by the time the latest Twilight movie opens on the 18th. The trailer will debut on ABC’s Good Morning America this coming Monday, November 14, in the 8 a.m. hour. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) will brave the perky morning-show herds to introduce the video.
A Hunger Games fansite came across a flyer instructing projectionists to attach the Hunger Games trailer to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. While it makes perfect business sense to market Hunger Games to the Twilight audience, I’ve never been so thankful for the internet.
In other news, there’s a new photo of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen that, from her outfit, I’d guess dates from early in the film.