There have been plenty of casting rumors surrounding Catching Fire in the past month, and yet nothing has become a reality other than Philip Seymour Hoffman in talks to join the Hunger Games sequel as Plutarch Heavensbee. As the heat increases outside, you can feel the heat starting to warm up for the casting process as well with the production deadline getting closer and closer. Though various stars have spoken out about who they would like to play in the second film, today it seems one fan-favorite role is already in the midst of having a new face join the franchise as two actresses have now been revealed as possibilities.
The Playlist reports that Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Zoe Aggeliki (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) are "in the mix" to take on the character of Johanna Mason, and that they are the top choices from the studio & director Francis Lawrence. It's likely that a casting move could be made in the coming week, with word that "Aggeliki could sign in the coming days". While Wasikowska has much more of a name so far, model-turned-actress Aggeliki will be appearing in next summer's Jackson sequel and R.I.P.D. starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and more.
In the novels, Johanna Mason is a past Hunger Games champion from District 7 who wields an axe, given that her district focuses on lumber, and teams up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in the next titular event as a "Quarter Quell" twist pits past victors of any age against one another. She also teams up with Finnick Odair, who has been quite the hard and important role to cast lately, while harboring a grudge against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) for the killing of her loved ones.
Francis Lawrence will be taking over directorial duties on Catching Fire, which is aiming for a fall production start, and will be based off of a script from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). Training for the actors is schedule to begin within the coming months, making casting updates certain to happen soon. It's said that Lawrence is looking at both relative unknowns and big names for each of the forthcoming characters, and it's said that while Aggeliki could be the frontrunner she's not yet guaranteed the role just yet.
However, much like the Finnick Odair frontrunner news from last month, we wouldn't be so quick to judge the talk just yet. This is strictly rumor right now, but over the weekend the talks could eventually materialize and we could have the film's Johanna by sometime next week.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set for a release on November 22nd, 2013.