It’s official: Lionsgate announced this morning that Jena Malone has signed on to play Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Malone is the third new actor to formally join the Hunger Games franchise, following Philip Seymour Hoffman (as Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee) and Amanda Plummer (as tribute Wiress).
EW first reported last month that Malone was in the running for the pivotal role. (Some basic plot SPOILERS follow from here.) In Catching Fire, Johanna is one of the former winning tributes selected, along with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), for the Quarter Quell. A citizen of the lumber-based District 7, Johanna’s quite handy with an ax, and possesses what Katniss calls, in Suzanne Collins’ book, “a wicked ability to murder.”
A professional actress since she was 12 years old, Malone, 27, has starred in Sucker Punch, The Messenger, Into the Wild, and Contact. She last appeared the History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will start shooting later this year with director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend). It’s set to open on Nov. 22, 2013.