After today’s news that Lionsgate has cast Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the studio is now courting a trio of actors for roles in the upcoming sequel. It’s being reported that Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman) is nearing a deal for a role to play Finnick while Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and three-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) are frontrunners for Mags and Beetee respectively. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be directed by Francis Lawrence and star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth when shooting begins this fall. Hit the jump for more info on the recent casting. [Update: According to Variety's Jeff Sneider, Leo will not be playing Mags.]
From Variety comes word (and a lot of spoilers in their article) that Claflin is almost set to star as Finnick, another of the contestants in the games who was previously one of the youngest victor in history. He and Katniss (Lawrence) have a contentious relationship throughout the film. Leo is the studio’s top choice for Mags, a former mentor of Finnick when he entered his first game and a selfless character who Katniss immediately identifies with. Shalhoub rounds out this casting addition as Beetee, an inventor who earns the nickname “Volts” as he uses electricity to build various weapons and defenses.
We previously reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) would be starring in Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee and Jena Malone (Into the Wild) had landed the coveted role of Joanna Mason in the sequel. Part two of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy (and Lionsgate’s four-part series) will also feature the return of Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland when it debuts November 22nd, 2013.