Sci-Fi Film and Television Developments
9/7/12 - Lionsgate has cast Jeffrey Wright to play Beetee from District 3 and is nicknamed "Volts" because of his electronics expertise. Source: The Hollywood Reporter
8/22/12 - Sam Claflin has been cast as Finnick Odair in Catching Fire. Described as charismatic and clever, Finnick -- from District 4 -- won the Hunger Games when he was 14. Source: The Hollywood Reporter
8/14/12 - Stephanie Leigh Schlund will join Lionsgate’s upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is set to start production in September. The star is to play Cashmere, a former career tribute from District 1, who along with brother Gloss, played by Alan Ritchson, compete in the Quarter Quell.
8/13/12 - Maria Howell has been cast as Seeder, a former victor from District 11. Howell’s character will compete in the 75th annual Hunger Games, also known as the Quarter Quell.
8/9/12 - Catching Fire will start production in September. E. Robert Mitchell has been cast in the role of Chaff. Mitchell will play a tribute from District 11 who won the 45th annual Hunger Games and is to compete in the Quarter Quell.
8/8/12 - Bruno Gunn will play Brutus in the Lionsgate sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Gunn will play a former Career victor from District 2 in the upcoming adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel Catching Fire.
8/7/12 - Meta Golding has joined the cast of Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Golding will play Enobaria, a former career tribute from District 2, known for the brutal way she came to win The Hunger Games.
8/2/12 - Lynn Cohen has joined the cast of Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lionsgate said Cohen will play the role of Mags, an 80-year-old Hunger Games victor from District 4 and a former mentor to Finnick Odair.
7/23/12 - Jenna Malone has joined the cast of Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Malone will play the role of snide tribute Johanna Mason, a former Games winner from District 7 who is psychologically damaged from her experience. It's an important role that she'll reprise in the trilogy’s third installment, Mockingjay.
7/17/12 - Lionsgate announced that Amanda Plummer is set to join sequel Catching Fire as Wiress. A female tribute from District 3, forced to compete in the Hunger Games again during the Quarter Quell, Wiress' eccentricity and silence prompts her fellow competitors to nickname her "Nuts."
7/3/12 - Jena Malone is in talks to play snide tribute Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, a key role that will be reprised in the trilogy’s third installment, Mockingjay, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The role requires a mix of wit and physicality. Although Mason enjoys some of the best one-liners in the Suzanne Collins novel, her first appearance finds her stripping out of her tribute costume in an effort to make Katniss uncomfortable. The movie is heading for a late-September start with director Francis Lawrence.
6/12/12 - Philip Seymour Hoffman received an official offer to play Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Heavensbee is the new gamemaker of the life-and-death games, the same position occupied by actor Wes Bentley in the first movie.
5/3/12 - Lionsgate has confirmed that Francis Lawrence is signed on to direct Catching Fire. "Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life," Lionsgate's president of production, Erik Feig, said in a statement.
4/11/12 - Director Gary Ross addressed recent reports speculating about whether he would return at the helm for the second movie in the Hunger Games franchise. "Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Ross said in a statement. He cited time as a major factor for why he pulled out of the project. "As a writer and a director, I simply don'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," Ross said.
4/6/12 - Fox informed talent agencies that the studio plans to begin shooting its sequel to X-Men: First Class in January, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That means Lionsgate could move forward with an August-September start date for the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire without a conflict for Jennifer Lawrence. As THR previously reported, tensions between the studios were running high last month as Fox was considering filming the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men follow-up in the fall, potentially conflicting with Lionsgate's plans for Hunger Games. Fox, which cast Lawrence as the shape-shifting Mystique in summer 2010, months before Lionsgate chose her to play Katniss Everdeen in March 2011, has the right to exercise the option on her contract if it conflicts with another Hunger.
4/4/12 - The Hunger Games director Gary Ross may not return for the next installment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Unlike stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, Ross is not signed for a sequel. And negotiations for him to do the first movie were "a terrible experience," says a source. He ended up taking a relatively low $3 million to write and direct. But he will collect a very remunerative 5 percent of backend. Sources say Ross would like a significant raise for a second Hunger Games, but Lionsgate didn't kick off negotiations with him until about three weeks before the first film's March 23 opening. By then, with tracking suggesting a huge opening weekend, Ross and his CAA reps were in no hurry to bargain. Lionsgate has a script from Simon Beaufoy that Ross has yet to revise. The studio is in a rush to start the next film in the fall, though Fox might upset Lionsgate's plan by exercising its option on Lawrence to start another X-Men movie first. Adding urgency: Lionsgate already has booked a November 2013 release for Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Sources involved with the franchise are betting that Ross will return.
8/8/11 - Lionsgate has claimed the Thanksgiving 2013 holiday for Catching Fire, the second film in the Hunger Games franchise. The sequel opens in theaters Nov. 22, 2013. Director Gary Ross is presently shooting The Hunger Games, the first movie in the series, which hits the big screen March 23, 2012. The movies are based on Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster young adult book trilogy. “The magical thing about the Hunger Games trilogy is that the books have such a vastly broad appeal. The stories truly offer something for everyone, and the period around the Thanksgiving weekend is such an opportunity for families and friends to make an event of going to the movies,” Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group president Joe Drake said.
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