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Despite a Deadline article last week claiming that relatively unknown model Zoe Aggeliki was likely set to play Johanna Mason in the upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, THR would like you to know that the role has, in fact, been offered to the more established actress Jena Malone (“Sucker Punch”) instead. Malone was always said to be in contention with Aggeliki for the role, but was thought to have gotten, well, sucker punched by the model turned actress.
Apparently not, as it turns out.
With the offered officially out, Malone is now said to be in “early negotiations” to board the sequel, which would pick up where the first movie, directed by Gary Ross, left off, with Hunger Games winners Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) forced back into the ring. Malone’s Mason would be a fellow previous winner, also forced back into the arena.
Malone is not a background character, and will figure prominently in not just “Catching Fire”, but also the third entry in the series, “Mockingjay”. (This is, of course, assuming the studio don’t split the third movie up into two parts, as is the fashion nowadays with the final installment in these highly profitable franchises. In the case of “Mockingjay”, though, that might not be such a bad idea given that author Suzanne Collins really packed it into the third novel.)
“Catching Fire” will shoot this September under new director Francis Lawrence, taking over for Ross. The sequel is set for 2013.