Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) - a competition that could change Panem forever.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has landed another big player, having cast up-and-coming Brit actor Sam Claflin in the role of Finnick Odair - a part that Robert Pattinson was briefly rumoured to be considering.
Catching Fire's muscular dreamboat, Odair hails from District 4 and is an arrogant and attractive former winner of the Games.
He teams up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), but theirs is an uneasy alliance.
Claflin had better brush up on his trident skills - while Katniss is a keen archer, Odair's weapon of choice is a trident and a net.
Previously, Claflin appeared in the fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean film On Stranger Tides, as well as this year's Snow White & The Huntsman as Prince William.
He seemed half-forgotten in those films, though, eclipsed by bigger-name stars, so it'll be great to see what he's made of in a pivotal role like Odair. He's certainly got the looks to pull it off...
Previously, Philip Seymour Hoffman chatted about his role in the sequel, while Jena Malone was in talks to play Johanna Mason.Source: www.totalfilm.com
Catching Fire has added some real clout to its growing ensemble, with Lionsgate confirming that Philip Seymour Hoffman has signed on to play the role of Plutarch Heavensbee.
Despite reporting that Hoffman had been offered the part back in June, we must admit to being a little surprised at this one, particularly given that the actor hasn't been part of a franchise movie since his turn as the villain in Mission: Impossible 3 in 2006.
Still, its a real coup for Lionsgate, who will be thrilled that the casting process is finally up and running. Hoffman's character Heavensbee is the new gamemaker, who fills the position that was rather unceremoniously vacated by Seneca Crane at the end of the first film.
And, as those who've read the books know, [begin minor spoilers] Heavensbee continues to play a pivotal role into the third instalment, Mockingjay [end minor spoilers].
Hoffman joins Jena Malone (as Johanna Mason) among the series' new recruits, with dissolute former champion Finnick Odair the final main role to be cast. That's the one Robert Pattinson was linked to not so long ago...Source: www.totalfilm.com
Catching Fire is set to arrive in cinemas in just over a year's time, so its no surprise to learn that Lionsgate are looking to do their casting for the Hunger Games sequel as quickly as they possibly can.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is the latest big name to be linked with the film, after the studio offered him the role of Pluto Heavensbee, the new gamemaker who steps into Seneca Crane's shoes, after the latter was rather forcibly encouraged to step down.
Whether or not Hoffman takes the role remains to be seen (and given he hasn't made a franchise movie since Mission: Impossible 3 back in 2006, it seems a tad unlikely), but it does at least give some indication of the studio's ambition for Catching Fire.
Another key role waiting to be filled is that of former tribute turn womanising reprobate, Finnick Odair, a part that was spuriously linked to Robert Pattinson earlier in the year. Garrett Hedlund and Armie Hammer are also names that have been thrown into the hat, only for the stars themselves to refute all knowledge of any such developments.
Whoever Lionsgate end up going for, they want to get a move on. New director Francis Lawrence is already having to work to an immensely tight time-frame, so the sooner he gets his cast together, the better. Catching Fire opens in the UK on 22 November 2013.Source: www.totalfilm.com
Catching Fire, the follow-up to The Hunger Games, will likely be another box office success story, but it will have to do so without the backing of legions of Twi-hards, after Robert Pattinson quashed rumours that he was set to appear in the forthcoming sequel.
The Cosmopolis star was reportedly Lionsgate's first choice for the role of Finnick Odair, a former winning tribute who gets roped into a kind of super-Hunger Games, in which all the former winners return to compete against each other.
However, R-Pattz himself has come out and denied the potential casting, revealing that no such approach has been made by the studio.
"I was kind of curious for a second," says Pattinson, "so I called my agent. My agent was like, 'No, no one's going to offer you that part.' I was like, 'thanks for the reassurance!'"Source: www.totalfilm.com
With his latest film Cosmopolis set to capture the imagination of the Cannes crowd on Friday, and the finale of the Twilight saga set to drop later in the year, Robert Pattinson's stock has never been higher in Tinseltown.
Rumour has it however, that he could be about to gain a whole new army of fans, with sources linking Pattinson to a role in Catching Fire, the forthcoming sequel to The Hunger Games.
Word is that Lionsgate want Pattinson and his prodigious cheekbones to take on the role of Finnick Odair, a former tribute with an eye for the ladies, who gets dragged into the Third Quarter Quell (a Hunger Games contested by previous winners).
Now while we're slightly sceptical as to whether Pattinson would really want to throw his lot in with another teen franchise post-Twilight, the fact that his Water For Elephants collaborator Francis Lawrence is now filling the director's chair could make this one a goer.
If he does accept the role, expect future Hunger Games premieres to take on the hysterical quality of their Twilight counterparts.Source: www.totalfilm.com
Catching Fire, the second instalment in the Hunger Games series, may soon have a new director in the shape of I Am Legend's Francis Lawrence.
In the wake of Gary Ross's abrupt departure, the studio has had to move quickly to find a replacement, with filming scheduled to begin in August ahead of a November 2013 release date.
Their list of candidates was apparently whittled down to a final pair, with Moneyball director Bennett Miller reportedly considered before an offer was made to Lawrence.
One of the factors behind that decision may well have been Miller's availability, given that he is currently prepping Steve Carell drama Foxcatcher ahead of a December start.
Should Lawrence accept the offer, he'll find himself thrown into a ludicrously tight production schedule, with filming having to start in a matter of months in order to ensure Jennifer Lawrence is able to shoot the X-Men: First Class sequel in January.
Time constraints were what eventually led Ross to step down from his position, with the director doubting his ability to live up to the first film under such tight margins. Let's hope Lawrence can pull it out of the bag, should he accept the opportunity...
Catching Fire opens in the UK on 22 November 2013.Source: www.totalfilm.com
There are some bullish announcements being made in Hollywood right now. Last weekend saw Sony announce a release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and now Lionsgate have repeated the trick by announcing the arrival of The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire on 22 November 2013.
Bearing in mind the first film hasn't even finished shooting, it's a confident move on the part of the studio, although given the huge popularity of the books, they're probably reasoning their built-in audience will turn out for the sequel regardless of how well the original is received.
Lionsgate COO Joe Drake gave an accompanying statement hyping up the studio's excitement in the project with the usual PR flannel.
"The magical thing about the The Hunger Games trilogy is that the books have such a vastly broad appeal," he burbles. "The stories truly offer something for everyone, and the period around the Thanksgiving weekend is an opportunity for families and friends to make an event of going to the movies."
The first film, simply entitled The Hunger Games, will arrive on 23 March next year, with filming soon set to wrap on the Jennifer Lawrence-starring adventure. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland are just some of the big names set to flesh out an exciting supporting cast.
The trilogy is set in a post-apocalyptic version of America, in which the ruling government selects a boy and girl from each of the country's districts to participate in a brutal survival event known as The Hunger Games.
No word as yet on the future of director Gary Ross, and one suspects that, had Lionsgate decided to retain him for part two, they probably would have announced it. Better make this one count then Gary… no pressure.Source: www.totalfilm.com
15 August 1990
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Woodrow Tracy Harrelson
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17 July 1935
Donald McNichol Sutherland
6' 4" (1.93 m)
11 November 1960
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Samuel George Claflin
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Leonard Albert Kravitz
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