After becoming one of the biggest movies of the year, The Hunger Games hit a speed bump when director Gary Ross left the franchise because he didn't think he could get the film up and running in time to meet the studio deadline.
As you may recall, Lionsgate wants the next Hunger Game installment out for next Thanksgiving, November 22, 2013 to be exact, which means it has to start shooting in September.
So far, so good schedule wise, and two important roles in Catching Fire have just been cast, or are just about cast we should say. Philip Seymour Hoffman, the acclaimed actor who is also in the next Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master, has indeed been signed on to play Plutarch Heavensbee.
"This hasn't been confirmed until now, but as Entertainment Weekly tells us, he is indeed coming aboard Catching Fire. Heavensbee is the "Head Gamemaker" who will be in charge of the 75th edition of The Hunger Games.
As EW notes, he's the first new addition to the cast, which will bring back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcehrson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland.
There have also been reports that Jena Malone will play Johanna Mason, and while EW reports this hasn't been completely confirmed, it has been widely reported that Malone is a shoe-in for the role. The actress most recently appeared in the highly rated Hatfields and McCoys mini-series, which also starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, and as the L.A. Times reported right before the 4th of July holiday, "she has been offered the part and is negotiating terms."