One more tribute has been reaped. After last week’s landslide of casting news, Lionsgate has just announced that they will be adding singer-actress Maria Howell to the ever-growing cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The sequel sends previous game victors Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark on a “Victor’s Tour” of Panem’s 12 districts, during which Katniss notices the birth of a rebellion and President Snow announces the 75th Annual Hunger Games. However, these Games will bring new dangers and unexpected challenges that will drag Katniss and Peeta back to the Arena and test everything they know about themselves and each other.
Howell will play Seeder, the female tribute/former victor from District 11. In the book, she’s described as looking almost like she could’ve been from District 13′s the Seam with golden brown eyes, olive-colored skin and straight black hair with silver steaks. Though she appears to be over sixty, she still retains her health and strength, having not turned to liquor or chemical substances post-games like Haymitch or her fellow District 11-er, Chaff. Seeder bonds quickly with Katniss upon their meeting due to their connections to previous tributes Rue and Thresh and questions Snow’s motives throughout the early stages of the 75th games. She’s a very kind, confident, motherly character who reminds Katniss strongly of Rue, a fact that makes her warm up to the older woman quickly. Though she’s mostly performed in small roles, I remember seeing similar qualities in Howell’s characters in 2009′s The Blind Side and 2012′s What to Expect When You’re Expecting, making me confident that she’s an excellent choice for Seeder.
Additionally, this news leaves one less tribute to be cast. According to my count, we’re still waiting for District 1′s Cashmere, District 3′s Beetee, District 4′s Finnick Odair, District 7′s Blight, District 8′s Cecelia and Woof, and an assortment of unnamed tributes from District’s 5, 9, and 10. Of this list, Finnick (rumored to be played by Sam Claflin) and Beetee are the biggest roles left, as both will play prominent roles not just in this film but in Mockingjay as well. Given how fast the production start date is approaching and how quickly Lionsgate has been moving on casting news, expect these to be filled quickly and painstakingly one per day.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth return to star opposite newcomers Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Alan Ritchson, E. Roger Mitchell and Lynn Cohen. Michael Arndt is in talks to pen the script for director Francis Lawrence. Filming will start next month in Atlanta before moving onto Hawaii in November.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters on November 22nd, 2013.
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