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Catching Fire Casting Heating Up

— by CHERRY BELL DAMASCO-FARRINGTON —

As the summer progresses and fall nears, production for “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire” is nearing and the casting rumors are heating up.

Earlier this year, we reported that the role of Finnick Odair was close to being cast and the rumors had Robert Pattinson in the mix with Garrett Hedlund (“Tron: Legacy”), Armie Hammer (“Mirror, Mirror”) and Taylor Kitsch (“Battleship,” “John Carter”). Unfortunately, however, there has not been a final decision from Lionsgate and the producers regarding who will take on the coveted role that will appear in both “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” (the final installment of the trilogy).

Fortunately, for all of us who are monitoring pretty much every entertainment news outlet for any type of casting news and confirmation, the stars are right on the heels of their agents as well to either confirm or debunk the rumors for the fans.

In other casting news for the film, the role of Johanna Mason has made making headlines in the past week. Jena Malone (“Sucker Punch,” “Hatfields & McCoys”), Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right”) and newcomer model/actress Zoe Aggeliki emerged as frontrunners, with Malone reportedly being offered the role. A story in The Hollywood Reporter states: “Malone has the offer and is in early negotiations for the part.” Meanwhile, Wasikowski confirmed in an EW interview that she was never approached by Lionsgate to take on the role and would not be able to participate in the project due to other film projects that she is already committed to.

In the book, Johanna Mason is described as a very tough, intelligent girl from District 7 with no close family or friends. When she is called again to fight in the Third Quarter Quell of the 75th Hunger Games, she forms an alliance with Finnick Odair, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).

For a non-tribute role, the role of Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee is rumored to have been offered to Philip Seymour Hoffman. Heavensbee makes a brief appearance in “Catching Fire,” but is more prominent in “Mockingjay.” In addition, Lil Romeo, also known as Romeo Miller, was reported to have met with Lionsgate execs to talk about possibly being involved in “Catching Fire.” No word on what role he was in talks for, but there is a chance that fans may see him in the second adaptation of a Suzanne Collins’ novel.

Additionally, I am anxious to know who Lionsgate has in mind for Beetee, also known as Volts in the novels, and Mags. Let us know who you think should be cast as Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason or any of the other key players in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

While all of these rumors are flying through cyberspace as the production closes in on “The Hunger Games” sequel, no casting choices have been confirmed by director Francis Lawrence or Lionsgate. So fans of the series, can only speculate at this point on casting decisions. What are your thoughts on the casting rumors surrounding “Catching Fire”? Do you think that some of the casting rumors are spot on or way off?

Jennifer Lawrence will return for the sequel as Katniss Everdeen, with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks. The film is due for a November 2013 release date.

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