Over at Movies.com, they have compiled reactions from various Hunger Games fan sites to the apparent casting of Jena Malone as Johanna Mason in Catching Fire. Despite the fact that Lionsgate has not confirmed the casting, it does appear that Jena will be legitimately playing Johanna, barring some major scheduling/negotiating issue. And it is our first bit of major casting news (since there’s still no firm word about whether Philip Seymour Hoffma has accepted the role of Plutarch). So read on to find out what the fan sites, including yours truly, had to say on this casting news!
Lindsay – HG Girl On Fire When Jena Malone was first mentioned as a possibility for Johanna Mason, I think many people were surprised. She’s not quite the first person that jumps to mind. However, Jena is a seasoned actress that’s got a pretty broad range, and the more time I’ve had to think on it, the more I like the choice for our Johanna. Jena is one of those actors that you might have recognized, but probably didn’t know her name. Most recently she played the seemingly innocent, but out-for-blood Nancy McCoy in the TV mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. She’s got snark. She’s got attitude, and she’s able to play it tough. And rumor is that she really wanted the role. I like where this is going so far.
Amanda – The Hob Jena Malone as Johanna Mason? Yes, yes, and yes, again. I never thought of Jena for the role, but the moment she was rumored to be in the running, I couldn’t have pictured a better fit. I’ve been a fan of Jena’s since she played a pregnant teen in the 2004 film Saved!, and though she has done some more mainstream films since then – ex. Pride and Prejudice, Sucker Punch – she’s always managed to stay a little under the radar. Perhaps because of her fantastic chameleon like quality, where she fully transforms into the character she’s portraying and you almost forget it’s her (ex. Hatfields and McCoys). This is what would make her a great fit for Johanna – she’s a seasoned actress yet isn’t someone whose previous roles or real-life persona will overshadow the character she’s playing. I have no doubt she could morph into the District 7 Tribute.
Adam – The Hunger Games Fireside Chat Is Jena Malone a capable actress? Yes. In fact, she’s proven herself to be more than capable throughout her career, playing a variety of roles quite well in many different genres. However, Johanna Mason has not been in her repertoire to date. Lots of fans and colleagues have been touting Sucker Punch as evidence that she can play rough, but I wasn’t a huge fan of her performance there, and I think she is more suited for films like Saved! or – in what was an unheralded effort – The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Of course, Lionsgate has proven clairvoyant with some of its past selections, and I’m inclined to give the studio the benefit of the doubt, but surely there was a better prototype out there for a badass exhibitionist. Then again, as Whit Stillman writes in Metropolitan, “Playing strip poker with an exhibitionist somehow takes the challenge away.”
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