Thursday, May 3, 2012

Johanna Mason: Sassy, Sexy, and oh so Dangerous (Casting Rumors)

Flying into theaters...
UPDATE: If reports are correct, all indications point to Jena Malone taking the role of the ax-wielding tribute from District 7.

With Catching Fire set to start filming as soon as August of this year and still many characters still yet to be cast, the interwebz have had its share of fun debating who should play whom. Lionsgate studios did a nice job at averting a crisis when director Gary Ross turned down a second go at helming the Hunger Games sequel by nabbing Francis Lawrence to call the shots. Now with the director's chair filled, fans want to see characters getting cast. I even got into the fun with an article on the possible candidates to play the hunky District 4 victor, Finnick Odair. Wow, that was a fun article to write. So many dreamy men...

Too bad we can't cast your reflection...
Now, the fun turns to looking at lovely ladies. For article purposes only. Right...?

I'll try not to spoil too many parts of the series, but... I must warn you, mild spoilers may arise.

In Suzanne Collin's series about children tearing each other apart, Johanna Mason is a previous Hunger Games victor from the lumber district, District 7. During her turn in the arena, Mason played a weakling girl to make sure that the other tributes wouldn't find her threatening. Then, when the number of survivors waned, Mason did her thing. Wielding axes, Johanna showed off her "wicked ability to murder" thus vaulting her to victory. A bit older than Katniss, when the two girls meet, Johanna is definitely envious of the attention Katniss receives. Katniss notes that Johanna is quite attractive, and like Finnick, she likes to flaunt it.

She's dangerous. She's cunning. She's brash. And, like Finnick, she's damaged. Still carrying the emotional scars from winning, Mason admits there's "no one left I love." After certain cataclysmic events in Catching Fire, Johanna becomes even more of a tortured soul in Mockingjay.

Seriously. She's awesome.
So who would be an ideal lady to play this sassy District 7 victor? Well, the actress would have to have the ability to play a wide range of emotions, ranging from wild-eyed and fierce to brooding and broken. She needs to be sexy, sassy, and an aura of "you can't touch me."

Well, gentlemen (and ladies...), I give you my candidates to play the sly, provocative Johanna Mason in Catching Fire.

So many good-looking women...
Kristen Bell

Why: The 31-year-old starlet has professed her love of Collin's books and also put her name in the hat to play Miss Johanna Mason. While she has been doing a ton of rom-coms, the Forgetting Sarah Marshall star definitely has the acting talent to play a complex character like Johanna. She can kick a lot of behind, as seen on Veronica Mars and Heroes. Smart, sassy, certainly sexy, Bell might just make the shortlist of actresses to be considered for the role.

Why Not: Well, at 31, she may be a bit too old to play Johanna. Granted, this didn't stop the 21-year-old Lawrence from playing a 16-year-old, but it is something to take into consideration. Catching Fire might also decide to cast lesser-known commodities for the supporting cast, similar to The Hunger Games. General fan reaction has been less than enthusiastic about Bell playing Johanna Mason, as many just can't see her as the axe-wielding menace.

Lyndsy Fonseca

Why: When looking for someone to play Katniss Everdeen, Fonseca's name popped up on various shortlists. However, she was deemed to be too old to play the 16-year-old and gave it to 21-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. That doesn't mean the now 25-year-old starlet shouldn't be considered for the role of Johanna, who is written as older than Katniss. Her work in Nikita shows that Fonseca is not afraid to get murderous. And oh yeah, she definitely has the looks to play a sultry character and the sassy attitude to back it up.

Why Not: General fan reaction has been "meh." Many actually want to see her as Annie Cresta instead. The main concern with Fonseca should be that her film creds aren't exactly packed with characters like Johanna Mason. The only real big blockbuster Fonseca has been in is Kick-Ass and well, she didn't exactly do much arse kicking as Katie.

Summer Glau

Why: Um. Why not? The would-be Pink Power Ranger played fan favorite River Tam in the too-good-for-the-world TV show, Firefly. And she kicks a whole lot of butt in that. Glau has the looks to play the District 7 vixen, and the acting chops to boot. In her predominately TV oriented career, Glau has played a whole range of characters quite well, so she should have no trouble playing Miss Mason, the axe-wielding victor of District 7.

Why Not: At 30-year-of-age, Glau isn't exactly the youngest option out there. Also, like many on this list, she has had a career heavily involving TV and not the big screen. While not the biggest issue, it should still be taken into account, as the rigors of filming not only Catching Fire but also two projected Mockingjay movies is no simple task for even a supporting character.

Ashley Greene

Why: The 25-year-old actress first started turning heads in another popular young adult novel movie adaption, Twilight, as Alice Cullen. So she's no stranger to one, novel-to-film adaptions and two, crazy, screaming fans that come with priorly mentioned novel-to-film adaptions. Say what you want about those movies, but Greene is actually quite good in them. She has showed the emotional range within the Twilight series to play a character like Johanna, and she also has the look.

Why Not: With the ridiculous success of Twilight, I doubt studios would want to grab an actor from the ranks of another successful franchise. Also, like her hunky Twilight co-stars, her schedule will probably start filling up, so it is doubtful that she could join Catching Fire and the two Mockingjay films.

Mila Kunis

Why: Smart, sassy, and definitely sexy, Kunis seems to have that "Johanna Mason" vibe to her. Emerging from the ranks of TV (That 70's Show and Family Guy), the 28-year-old has been involved in butt kicking movies such as The Book of Eli and Max Payne, but she really showed her acting chops in Black Swan and yes, Friends with Benefits. Honestly, I don't how she hasn't been cast in a superhero movie yet. Something about her just screams franchise... (Wonder Woman? Can I start those rumors, please?) Her name is also popular around the bloggy-blogs.

Why Not: An established Hollywood presence could detract from the appeal of Kunis. She also looks a bit too old for the role (No, I swear, Mila, I'm not saying you're old... I'm just... Oh boy... someone want to hand me a rope to get me out of this hole I've dug...). Like others on this list, Kunis is a rising star, and it may prove difficult to accommodate her quickly filling schedule.

Rooney Mara

Why: One of Hollywood's fastest rising stars, Mara has turned heads with her portrayal as Facebook founder's Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) ex-girlfriend, Erica Albright in the critically and commercially successful The Social Network. When it was her turn to star in a film, she didn't disappoint earning an Oscar nomination for her work in Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. She's shown that she can play emotionally damaged characters (seriously, just watch Girl with a Dragon Tattoo...), and she has more than the cold, yet sexy look of Johanna Mason.

Why Not: Like many on this list, the 27-year-old actress may not have enough days on her calender to film Catching Fire and the two projected Mockingjay films. Plus, she may also be deemed too old to play the girl from District 7. A hot commodity in Hollywood, studios would have to act fast to get Mara onboard.

Ellen Page

Why: 25-year-old certainly has the sassy and snarky going for her. Her performances in Juno and pretty much everything else she's in features her trademark spirited cheek. She has showed she can kick butt too, as in Whip It! and X-Men: Oh Yeah That One. Her "woodsy" lifestyle also plays well into the character of Johanna. Seriously, she likes to climb trees and lived in an eco-village for a month. Page is also a phenomenal actress, who could easily tackle the wide range of emotions in a character like Johanna Mason.

Why Not: While certainly talented, Page has never had to take on a character quite like Johanna. I certainly don't doubt she could transform into a sociopathic killer, but there's something about Page that just doesn't scream "IMMA KILL YOU!" Also, it's not like Page is new to the whole acting thing. She's quite established and the franchise may want lesser know personal.

Naya Rivera

Why: Like Bell, Rivera also has expressed interest in playing a role in The Hunger Games films due to her love of the books. Taking to Twitter, Rivera tweeted that she would love to play Johanna Mason. And, well, she has something going for her. The Glee star can play a ruthless, vicious character, yet the 25-year-old actress has the range to give tender, emotional moments in Glee. Plus, it's really easy to envision Santana burying an axe into someone... Rivera could also bring a lot of fans to the franchise, as many Gleeks would be absolutely thrilled to see her on the big screen.

Why Not: Her film credentials aren't exactly amazing. Sure, she's fantastic on Glee, but Rivera has yet to really prove she take on a demanding film role. This might cause the studios a bit of trepidation and look elsewhere.

Michelle Trachtenberg

Why: Sassy. Check. Sexy. Check. Talented. Double check. The 26-year-old actress has already been in two critically and commercially successful TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gossip Girl. In the latter, Trachtenberg has shown off her skill at playing a spunky, outspoken character. An incredibly underrated star in Hollywood, Catching Fire may be the big screen break she needs. Seriously, she needs to be in more films... (Wonder Woman? Again... I need to start these rumors...)

Why Not: Similar to many of the actresses on this list, Trachtenberg lacks the big screen experience, not to mention she has never been in such a major blockbuster franchise as The Hunger Games trilogy. Again, it could prove a challenge for the young actress to pull off such a character over such a prolonged period of time (I did mention Catching Fire and Mockingjay will be rigorous right...?)

Mia Wasikowska

Why: The Aussie actress burst onto the scene with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland playing the titular character. While she has avoided big productions since then, the 22-year-old may just catch someone's eye, especially after her magnificent performance in In Treatment. With her ability to play emotionally damaged yet sassy characters, Wasikowska could be quite appealing for the open spot of Johanna Mason.

Why Not: Well, like I said, she's not exactly been all about the big productions. Regardless of her avoidance of blockbusters, her schedule is quite full already. Wasikowska's characters haven't exactly shown off that incredibly violent streak that Johanna Mason possesses either.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Why: Winstead is a personal favorite of mine, if not to play the role of Johanna but just as an actress in general. The scream queen has shown that she's not just a gorgeous body ready to be butchered. Oh no, Miss Winstead has shown her acting chops in each and every one of those awful slashers being really the only bright spot in many of them. Her role as Ramona in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has also featured that sassy sexiness that Johanna Mason possesses. The 27-year-old has also been able to handle big budget productions (Die Hard), and she's no stranger to playing emotionally damaged characters (see: All those horrid slashers...)

Why Not: Like many of the other fast-rising actresses on this list, Winstead's film schedule may not be able to accommodate the rigors of The Hunger Games sequels. Signing her to two or more films in the franchise would prove quite difficult, as she is sure to have a crapton of film offers after the release of sure-cult-film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the Charlie Sheen career-reboot-attempt A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. 

Whomever they pick, some things need to be taken into consideration besides character fit. The actress needs to have a fairly open schedule, as Catching Fire is filming from August and needs to wrap up in December (for Lawrence to film the X-Men: First Class sequel). Not only will their schedule have to be open for Catching Fire, but also the projected two movies that will be Mockingjay. Whoever is picked for Johanna also needs to not upstage Jeniffer Lawrence, as Lawrence is the focal point. Granted, that's difficult to do (because Jeniffer is AWESOME), but getting an  actress who is well-known to take second-stage could prove a challenge for director Francis Lawrence.

My best guess on who will play the District 7 tribute would have to be someone not on the list (Emily Browning? Emma Roberts? Gemma Arterton? Katie McGrath? I could continue...). I would have to assume that Lionsgate will look at some rising young talent and pick from lesser-known film ranks. Although, if they did want a "name" starlet, Rivera could attract quite a following. Also, it would be amusing if Rivera and Grant Gustin were cast as Mason and Finnick Odair respectively. Maybe Francis Lawrence could incorporate that Smooth Criminal duet like on Glee into Catching Fire somehow...

...probably not.

Personally, I would love Glau or Fonseca. Both have played butt-kicking yet damaged characters. Even as I say that I struggle not voting for Winstead because I LOVE HER!!! Fangirl-dom aside, I really like all the candidates on the list, yet at the same time I have a sense of trepidation whenever I wonder if they can take on the complexities of Johanna Mason. I seriously wouldn't doubt that Lionsgate pulls someone from past horror film fame. Many young and yes, talented actors and actresses have emerged from the guts and gore of horror films. It's a wonder what you can do with talent when given the right director and script to work with...

Well... actually I'd rather have it be her...
...but that's not going to happen. This was really just an excuse to get Jessica Alba on this site, which is really hard to do... unfortunately.

awesomely gorgeous girls...
Like I said before, I really am fans of all the ladies on this list, plus all of them are included on my "I Would Totally Die of Happiness if I Had One Date" list. We all have that, right? Right...?

Also for all those bro's out there hoping to see one of these lovely ladies strip down to their skivvies and more... think again. Seriously, I know that Johanna Mason does this, but I doubt it would be included in the film version of Catching Fire, as (even though the content is brutal...) the film is still for young adults and it's already pushing the PG-13 rating. One can hope, though. I mean... wait...

Catching Fire burns into theaters November 22, 2013.

As always, don't forget to Tweet this, repost this, like it, etc. on all them social media outlets!

Who knows, maybe one of these awesome actresses will see this and get onboard with the idea!

Who should be cast as Johanna Mason?
Kristen Bell
Lyndsy Fonseca
Summer Glau
Ashley Greene
Mila Kunis
Rooney Mara
Ellen Page
Naya Rivera
Michelle Trachtenberg
Mia Wasikowska
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Other (Let Us Know in the Comments!)
Create your own poll with LearnMyself

1 comment:

  1. Although she wouldn't be my first choice, you should see Ellen Page in Hard Candy.  Then you get the creepy dangerous side...


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