Francis Lawrence starts shooting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in less than two months, so there should be several concrete casting announcements in the immediate future.

Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman were confirmed as new additions to the second Hunger Games flick just a couple of weeks ago. Today we have word that the cast also includes Golden Globe-nominee Amanda Plummer as Wiress (an eccentric Quarter Quell participant who goes by the nickname “Nuts”). Plummer, as it were, is perhaps still best known for her turn as Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction.

Variety has learned that the following individuals are shortlisted (re: frontrunners) to join Catching Fire:

  • Sam Claflin, the 26-year old English actor who recently played a small role in both Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Snow White and the Huntsman. Lionsgate is expected to offer Claflin the fan-favorite role of Finnick Odair, after eying people like Armie Hammer (Social Network) and Taylor Kitsch (Battleship) to bring the former-Games champion to life.
  • Melissa Leo, the versatile character actress who was nominated for an Oscar in 2009 (for Frozen River) before she won for The Fighter last year. She’s up for the role of Mags, the 80-something, deteriorating (re: toothless) woman who mentored Finnick during his time competing in the Hunger Games.
  • Tony Shalhoub, the Golden Globe-winning alum of the long-running TV series Monk (and a costar in the first two Men in Black movies). Shalhoub is in line to portray Beetee, an electricity specialist nicknamed “Volts,” who plays a pivotal role in upending the Quarter Quell.

Claflin, Leo, and Shalhoub are up for 'Catching Fire'

For those who are unfamiliar with Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire novel – and therefore do not know what the Quarter Quell is – here’s a synopsis (for the film adaptation):

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen [played by Jennifer Lawrence] has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark [Josh Hutcherson].   Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts.  Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow [Donald Sutherland] prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

The casting of Claflin as Finnick seems destined to stir up the most disagreement among Hunger Games fans, as far as this casting shortlist is concerned – if only because the actor has yet to really impress the masses (though, that could easily change, after he portrays Finnick). Otherwise, this collection of acting talent seems pretty rock solid – especially new additions like Leo and Shalhoub.

Of course, feel free to express your agreement/disagreement with that sentiment, in the comments section of this article.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in regular/IMAX theaters on November 22nd, 2013.

Source: Variety