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Jena Malone in talks for Catching Fire

Catching Fire has all but confirmed its first major piece of casting with the announcement that Jena Malone is in talks to play the key role of Johanna Mason.

Malone was previously thought to be in the mix with a host of other contenders, but now it seems she has bagged the role ahead of model-turned-actress Zoe Aggeliki. Mia Wasikowska was another to have been linked with the role.

Johanna Mason is a former winner from District 7 who joins a group of former champions forced to compete in the Quarter Quell, a kind of greatest hits edition of the games. As handy with a wisecrack as she is with her trusty axe, she's an expert at playing possum and taking out her opponents when their backs are turned.

Perhaps her most famous scene comes when Katniss first encounters her, stark naked apart from a pair of fluffy slippers. Whether or not director Francis Lawrence elects to include that little moment remains to be seen…

Catching Fire opens in the UK on 22 November 2013, giving Lawrence an extremely tight deadline to get everything in the can. Expect further casting announcements in the coming weeks as Lionsgate strives to find candidates for both Plutarch Heavensbee and Finnick Odair. Chop chop, people...

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