UPDATE: Jena Malone has joined Zoe Aggeliki as a contender for the key role of Johanna Mason in the "Hunger Games" sequel, according to Inside Movies.
Johanna is, of course, the strong-willed tribute with "a wicked ability to murder" who forms an alliance with Katniss and Peeta. As Malone is known for taking part in edgier fare such as "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" and "The Ruins," her possible involvement has us thinking that director Francis Lawrence might stick pretty close to how Johanna first meets Katniss in the book: naked, except for a pair of green slippers.
With news of Jena being in the Johanna mix also comes confirmation of something that we kind of suspected: Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") has not been approached for the role, nor would her busy schedule allow her to take part either way.
Jena Malone's other credits include "Donnie Darko," "Pride & Prejudice" and "Into the Wild." She was recently seen in Zack Snyder's gonzo id fantasy "Sucker Punch" and as Nancy McCoy in The History Channel's record-breaking miniseries, "Hatfields & McCoys."
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Enough with the Finnick Odair speculation. Who will play Johanna Mason, District 7's lonely daughter, in the "Hunger Games" sequel?
Director Francis Lawrence is looking at both famous faces and lesser-known names for the key role in "Catching Fire," and Mia Wasikowska and Zoe Aggeliki have emerged as the top two contenders for the part, according to The Playlist.
Johanna Mason is a fierce competitor who becomes a strong ally — and something of a tempestuous older sister — to both Katniss and Peeta in the 75th annual Hunger Games. She's most well-known (and feared) for her rather unlady-like weapon of choice: an axe.
Word hath it that it's actually Zoe Aggeliki, a relative unknown, who's closest to signing on the dotted line, but nothing's been confirmed. Zoe will be seen next summer in the supernatural crime comedy, "R.I.P.D.," which opens June 28, 2013.
If for no other reason, Mia Wasikowska might not win the role because it would be a highly dubious task to fit it into her extremely busy schedule. She recently wrapped Park Chan-wook's "Stoker" and is currently filming Richard Ayoade's "The Double" with Jesse Eisenberg, with Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," "Tracks," "Madame Bovary" and Spike Lee's "Oldboy" all waiting in the pre-production wings.
And, okay, yeah: Who in the heck is going to play Finnick?
Stay tuned for any and all "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" casting news as it breaks, which should be rather soon, as production commences this fall with a look toward a release date of November 22, 2013.
Originally published on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:54 p.m. ET.