Sam Claflin, Melissa Leo and Tony Shalhoub Up for 'Catching Fire'
It's a big day for news on the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Today Pulp Fiction star Amanda Plummer landed the role of Wiress, an older tribute in the 75th annual Hunger Games who finds herself reentering the arena for the third Quarter Quell, which calls upon victors from the previous games to battle again. Now three more tributes are being lined up as Variety reports Sam Claflin, Melissa Leo and Tony Shalhoub are all up for integral parts in the adaptation of the second book in Suzanne Collins' best-selling young adult trilogy. Details on their roles and news on a new director for Mockingjay below.
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") is up for the role of Beetee, a technological genius and inventor who gets the nickname "Volts" alongside Wiress' "Nuts" (thanks to Johnna Mason, being played by Jena Malone). Meanwhile, Melissa Leo is the frontrunner to play Mags, another veteran tribute who is very elderly, and hails from the same district as Finnick Odair, one of the more important new characters, who is also a fan favorite. Speaking of which though other names have been mentioned, Snow White and the Huntsman star Sam Claflin is apparently the top choice for the trident-wielding tribute who becomes a key player in the games alongside Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). These roles aren't official yet, and they're merely the top choices at this point but I'd expect official casting at any moment as the film is supposed to begin filming in September.
And while The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is preparing to shoot, Lionsgate/Summit is already looking ahead to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, both of which are getting November releases in 2014 and 2015. With such a tight release schedule, it doesn't sound like Francis Lawrence will be able to direct the finale. IndieWire says the hunt is already on to find a director to take on both of the films for the adaptation of the third book, which will likely be shot back-to-back. Maybe this is where Alfonso Cuaron can step in as director? That would be great. Either way, there's a lot of action surrounding this big franchise so stay tuned for more updates.