Monday, July 2, 2012

Zoe Aggeliki and Jena Malone in Talks for Johanna Mason in Catching Fire

The next Johanna Mason?

UPDATE: It seems that most sources are indicating that Jena Malone is now going to be playing Johanna Mason. She has reportedly been offered the role, but the deal has yet to be finalized.

After a flurry of rumors and speculation, it seems that Lionsgate studios have narrowed down the casting decision for the role of District 7's axe-wielding bad girl, Johanna Mason. Newby Zoe Aggeliki and that one girl from Sucker Punch, Jena Malone, are reportedly in serious talks to play the role, with Aggeliki apparently the front-runner.

While many young actresses were being considered for the role, with candidates taking to talk shows and Twitter to try to catch director Francis Lawrence's attention, it seems the brass running Catching Fire wanted to avoid big names like Kristen Bell, Ellen Page, and Mia Wasikowska (once thought to be a serious contender).

The Swedish-born Zoe Aggeliki has yet to be seen on the big screen, but she can be seen in the pages of various fashion magazines. Malone has been in the film industry for awhile, but outside of Sucker Punch, she has avoided the big blockbusters that will surely be Catching Fire.

Even though she is the front-runner, 18-year-old Zoe (or Zoi) Aggeliki would be a bit younger than the 21-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, though Collin's novels have the troubled Johanna Mason several years older than the District 12 heroine. It will be interesting if this will hurt the gorgeous Aggeliki's chances for the equally alluring Jena Malone. In my opinion, Zoe looks more like the Katniss Everdeen character I pictured while reading the novels, but that's not important. Sorry, Jennifer.

Malone is most likely known by the mainstream media (or rather teenage boys) as the spunky and sexy Rocket from the  awesomely ridiculous over-the-top movie, Sucker Punch. At 27, Malone would definitely be an older presence that the character Mason needs. She has also shown the acting chops to carry the incredibly complex character that is Johanna Mason.

Both actresses would be excellent choices, and most networks are reporting that Aggeliki will secure the role in the next few days. While she has yet be seen in a film, Zoe is in the middle of filming the next Percy Jackson movie, Japanese horror film Scared of the Dark, and the much-anticipated action-comedy, R.I.P.D. starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. Even though some people are leery of her lack of experience, the roles she is landing should at least indicate that studios trust her acting ability and are not just relying on her stunning looks. Also, models turned actresses can go on to have successful careers, as seen by the likes of Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, and Freida Pinto.

Either actress will have her hands full, though, as Mason is heavily featured in both Catching Fire and the final installment of the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. As explained in this article, the tribute from District 7 is a darkly complex and troubling character, vicious yet damaged. Lionsgate studios and director Francis Lawrence need to make the right decision from the get-go, as an actor change from Catching Fire to Mockingjay would most likely not sit well with critics and the fan base alike.

The highly anticipated follow-up to the Hunger Games is set to start filming in August. While that deadline is quickly approaching, there has yet to be any sort of whisper on who will play the charming yet deadly Finnick Odair.

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