Just when things were settling down after the near daily casting flurry, Lionsgate has another major announcement, that Jeffrey Wright has just landed the role of Beetee, one of the last big characters left to join the sequel 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.
Wright will play Beetee, a District 3 former victor also known as “Volts” due to his prowess with electronics. He and his companion, Wiress (played by the great Amanda Plummer), are rarely seen without each other and their personalities and skills draw Katniss to them very early on. His unique knowledge of technology make him a different sort of opponent in the arena with his tools during the games ranging from electronic supplies to a coil of wire. Like fellow tributes Finnick, Johanna, and Enobaria, he plays a major role not just in this chapter of Katniss’ life but also in the final story, Mockingjay, making this an excellent role for anyone to land. He’s unique in that he develops not just a strong relationship with Katniss but a very interesting bond with her best friend, Gale, one that plays a heavy role in some of the biggest events of Mockingjay.
This is one of the announcements that has me the most pumped about the sequel. Wright’s work in the incredible HBO series, Angels in America, is some of my favorite acting, period. His work in the Bond films and Source Code show that he’s no stranger to major Hollywood films and just based on these three very different projects, I have no doubt that he’ll have what it takes to make Beetee work. While Tony Shalhoub had been rumored to be in talks for the role, Wright was exactly who I pictured while reading the books and I can’t wait to see how he and Plummer play off each other.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth return to star opposite newcomers Plummer, Wright, Sam Claflin, 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 this month in Atlanta before moving onto Hawaii in November.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters on November 22nd, 2013.