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There has been a lot of buzz about Hunger Games movie franchise lately, as many developments have been made both in the casting of Catching Fire and the preparations for each part of Mockingjay. Even with developments being announced every few days, the most eagerly awaited news hasn’t come yet: who will play hunky Finnick Odair? Here’s the latest on the hit book trilogy-turned-movie franchise to get you up to date on everything happening in Panem.
So there’s no one to play Finnick yet, but Philip Seymour Hoffman just signed on to play Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. The Oscar-winning, well-respected actor will portray the man who plans the 75th Hunger Games, which happen to be an especially elaborate, especially cruel Quarter Quell. Just a few days before Hoffman’s involvement was announced, the role of District 7 tribute Johanna Mason was cast. Jena Malone, known for Sucker Punch, Donnie Darko, and Saved, will take on cunning young victor. This casting follows weeks of rumors that pegged model Zoe Aggeliki or actress Mia Wasikowska to play the sly, slight woman. While there are still plenty of characters to be cast and announced, like Beetee and Wiress, all attention is focused on who will play Finnick. As a fan favorite, there has been much speculation over who will play the seaworthy victor from District 4.
In addition to all of the casting news, release dates have been announced for the following three films. And yes, there will be three: Lionsgate confirmed that the last book of the trilogy, Mockingjay, will be split into two parts. Catching Fire will come out on November 22, 2013, followed by Mockingjay Part 1 on November 21, 2014, and Mockingjay Part 2 on November 20, 2015. As US Magazine points out, Hunger Games releases will be a nearly annual event, occurring around Thanksgiving.
Production for Catching Fire will start this fall. The Los Angeles Times has expressed concern that the production schedule to release a movie every year will be too tight. Gary Ross, who directed The Hunger Games, passed on directing Catching Fire because he didn’t “have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule." New director Francis Lawrence has his work cut out for him. Production on Catching Fire must wait for star Jennifer Lawrence (no relation to the director) to wrap up her work on the new X-Men sequel. Plus nothing can begin until Finnick is cast; in case it hasn’t sunk in yet, the buzz around the Finnick casting is big.
While it may be tough to wait for over a year to see the next installment in the Hunger Games franchise, at least after that the films will arrive yearly. There’s just 16 more months. At least we have more casting speculation to do before then. Even after Finnick is finally cast, we can still guess at who will play Mags, Finnick’s former mentor and fellow Quarter Quell tribute. So, until November 2013, happy Hunger Games speculating!