Rumors were swirling for a while, but they are rumors no longer: Lionsgate confirmed Monday that Jena Malone has been cast as Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. As a newcomer to the franchise, she's already in good company, joining accomplished actors Philip Seymour Hoffman (set to play Plutarch Heavensbee) and Amanda Plummer (as Wiress).
Of course Malone, 27, is no newcomer to Hollywood, having acted professionally since she was 12 and starred in such movies as Contact, Donnie Darko, Cold Mountain, and last year's Sucker Punch. No doubt her role in the latter as a tough action chick will serve her well in Catching Fire. Her character is a past winning tribute who returns to duke it out with Katniss and others. Johanna wields an axe and is described as having "a wicked ability to murder." Alrighty then. You go, girl!
Despite her solid acting chops and extensive onscreen experience, Jena Malone is still not quite a household name, or face. Look for that to change once Catching Fire comes out next year. Her own celebrity is likely to 'catch fire,' too, as part of the runaway success of the Hunger Games franchise.
And so the cast grows. There are key roles still to be filled, including Finnick and Beetee, so you can be sure there will be plenty more casting buzz in the coming weeks as the movie gets ready to go into production later this year.
What do you think, will Jena make a good Johanna?
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