Hooray for official “Hunger Games” casting news vs. casting rumors! After weeks of speculation, Lionsgate announced Monday (July 9) that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” in the role of Plutarch Heavensbee, Head Gamemaker for the Hunger Games.
So, who is Plutarch Heavensbee exactly? Without going into heavy spoiler territory, Heavensbee takes over the Gamemaker reins from where Seneca Crane (played by Wes Bentley) left off. Though he didn’t appear in the first movie, he makes a memorable appearance in Suzanne Collins’ first book during Katniss’ session with the gamemakers when she shoots her arrow into an apple on their dining table, causing a very surprised Heavensbee to fall backward into a punch bowl. In “Catching Fire,” we find out a lot more about him — and that his motivations for wanting to be Gamemaker and getting to know Katniss better are complicated, to say the very least.
Similar to the casting of Donald Sutherland as President Snow, the enlistment of Hoffman instantly adds gravitas to the film. Heavensbee is a complex, layered character that requires a seasoned pro of Hoffman’s caliber — one who can convey a sense of mystery with a touch of likable villainy as well. Not to say that Heavensbee is at all a villain: He’s just complicated.
In addition to Hoffman’s obvious acting qualifications — namely his best actor Oscar for “Capote” — his resume is full of memorable performances and characters in diverse films like “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “Mission Impossible: III,” “Doubt” and last year’s awards-season darling “Moneyball.” Not to mention that he can do lighthearted fare as well, a la his scene-stealing in “Twister” and “The Big Lebowski.”
Although Lionsgate’s announcement doesn’t mention future “Hunger Games” films for Hoffman as Heavensbee, the character is most definitely a part of much of the action in “Mockingjay,” Collins’ last book in the trilogy. Because the studio has opted to adapt the three books into four movies, it’s fair to assume that, after “Catching Fire,” Hoffman will appear in at least one more “Hunger Games” flick and very likely all four — depending on the success of “Fire” and where the break in storytelling comes between the third and fourth movies.
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Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
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