Briefly: We’ve reported a bit over the past couple weeks on the search for an actress to play the character Johanna Mason in the sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire. Director Francis Lawrence was said to have auditioned Jena Malone and Zoe Aggeliki in the past week and a half, and that the process led to Aggeliki being in advanced talks to play the axe-wielding District 17 Hunger Games champ.

Turns out that report, which led to many (including us) assuming that Aggeliki basically had the job, was a bit premature. THR says that Jena Malone got the offer to tplay the part, and is in talks now. Our own Angie Han was taken with the idea of Malone playing the role, rather than anyone else, noting that she has the “mix of steeliness and vulnerability that Johanna requires.” Since the role will carry over to the third film in the series, we’ll hope that Francis Lawrence has indeed chosen well.

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One of the big new characters in the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire is Johanna Mason, and for the past few weeks we’ve seen quite a list of actresses who have been considered for the role. Huge Hunger Games fan Kristen Bell wanted the gig, but actresses like Mia Wasikowska, Jena Malone, and model/actress Zoe Aggeliki were the ones who seemed to have the best chance of getting the job.

And now Aggeliki is in talks for the role. Read More »

Briefly: Ask most people if they’re excited for the sequel to The Hunger Games and they’d probably say “Yes.” Ask those same people if they’re excited for Catching Fire and they might say “What’s that?” Catching Fire is the title of the second Hunger Games book by Suzanne Collins but, just to avoid any confusion, Lionsgate is officially titling the sequel film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s the same name recognition strategy Summit employed for Twilight films that followed the first installment, calling them The Twilight Saga followed by the book title.

Directed by Francis Lawrence and returning main actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and others, the film is scheduled for release November 22, 2013.

Getting spoofed by the Scary Movie guys is sort of a Hollywood rite of passage at this point, so maybe in some twisted way this counts as an honor. Except no, not really. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the geniuses who brought you Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc., are set to write and direct The Starving Games, a no doubt hilarious parody of The Hunger Games and other recent action blockbusters. More details after the jump.

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Setting a director to make The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire turned out to be a little more complicated for Lionsgate than was originally expected. While Gary Ross was first thought to be fully set to reprise his directorial duties after making the smash first film, he moved on to other jobs. After casting about for follow-up options, Lionsgate made an offer to I Am Legend, Constantine and Water For Elephants director Francis Lawrence.

Today Lawrence has signed to make Catching Fire. The film will start shooting in the fall, and “Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth will reprise their roles as Katniss, Peeta and Gale, with Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson also returning to their respective roles.” The release date remains November 22, 2013.

Read the full press release below. Read More »

After narrowing down the field to two possible contenders earlier this week, Lionsgate has finally settled on a new director to replace Gary Ross for its Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. Francis Lawrence has just received the offer to helm the sequel, beating out fellow finalist Bennett Miller (Moneyball). Though Lawrence and Lionsgate have yet to finalize the deal, considering how quickly the studio is moving on this project, we can probably expect them to do so soon. More after the jump.

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For the last couple weeks the biggest question mark in Hollywood has been related to who Lionsgate plans to hire to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. Originally Gary Ross was thought to be set for the film, but it turned out that he had other ideas. After some extended last-minute dealmaking attempts, some of which included minor manipulations of the news that he was walking away from the film, Ross was revealed to be out of the picture for good.

So who steps in? A shortlist came out that includes some surprising names: David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Now we can add two more names to the ‘possible’ column: Moneyball director Bennett Miller, and I Am Legend and Constantine director Francis Lawrence. Read More »

Chatter about who could or should direct the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire began the second word got out that the first film’s helmer, Gary Ross, might be leaving the franchise. And now that his departure’s officially been confirmed, the conversation has further heated up, not just among fans but among Lionsgate studio execs as well.

A search has begun in earnest for Ross’ replacement, and if the first three names we’ve heard are indicative of the direction that Lionsgate is going, Ross’ exit could actually end up being a blessing in disguise. Among the filmmakers supposedly in the mix are Alfonso Cuarón, David Cronenberg, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Read more after the jump.

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