Jena Malone

One Handed

Another day of not has passed us by, which of course means no casting news from The Powers That Be, and yep… we’re still hearing those crickets. They’re rather deafening at this point considering it’s been an agonizing one week and three days since Ms. Jena Malone was finally confirmed as our dear, feisty, ax wielding Johanna Mason. Oh well, we have got some semi firm news on extra casting-calls going on down in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area, as well as news that Henry Mill Village, as well as the site used for the original District 12 Reaping Scene will be recreated, and rebuilt in the Atlanta area. I wholly see the logic in this, the series has a much higher profile now, and being able to keep the sets as secure as possible from gawkers, and paparazzi seems like something that would be a top priority for Lionsgate. Also, ahem— apparently it’s cheaper to shoot in Georgia than it is to shoot in North Carolina. Other tid-bits to over analyze, is the almost news is that a crew is supposedly in the state of Hawaii shooting exterior shots sans any cast members. My take, and I’m sure others have come to the same conclusion, that if they were truly starting principal photography in Hawaii right now, we’d be grudgingly seeing paparazzi shots of Jennifer Lawrence eating her lunch in Hawaii, and some of us don’t want to see that. So, if they are in fact shooting exteriors in Hawaii right now, cool.

But alas, still nothing real to report, so what’s a girl to do when there’s nothing to over analyze to within an inch of its poor not-quite-a-life? Fantasy cast, bitches! And, wait– I don’t mean cast bitches, I mean just, oh whatever. I’m really used to doing this, and it should come as no surprise that I pretty much fantasy cast everything, hell– I’ve fantasy cast The Thorn Birds pretty much every five years, because I think they need to make a new film adaptation of that book like you wouldn’t believe. Saturday I said I’d try my hand at more articles about Boggs, but I also mentioned Coin, and I’ll get to both eventually– perhaps a little today, but right now I think I’d rather focus on a character who has probably already been cast, but we haven’t heard a damn thing about yet, Chaff. We’ll eventually know who the hell is playing this mischievous wretch, but for now let’s go with what we know, and by what we know, I mean we know that gauging from who they’ve already cast, whomever is deemed worthy enough to play the man is going to be just another person who will make us say “perfect cast is perfect.”

So, Chaff–here’s what we know about him for sure:

  • He won the 45th Games.
  • He’s from District 11.
  • We don’t know exactly how old he is, but we do know he’s in his 40s.
  • He’s chummy with Haymitch, which has made some people speculate that they were more than chums as one time or another (to each their own).
  • He’s tall.
  • He’s missing one hand, and he seemingly refused the Capitol’s urging to have a state of the art prosthetic hand made to replace the one he is missing.
  • He’s black.

Wasn’t that fun? Okay, fine— probably not. Let’s get this started, beginning with who gets

See, told ya’ people really want him in this role.

fantasy cast the most, or at least whose name I see when I do a handy Google search for Chaff–  Idris Elba. Well, not only does Idris Elba have a kick-ass name, but he’s got a kick-ass dossier. Most recently people probably saw him in Prometheus, but the more rounded of us probably first saw him in 28 Weeks Later or better yet, The Wire on HBO. The man’s British, but he’s made a few pennies playing North Americans, he also just this year won a Golden Globe Award for his work on the BBC crime drama series Luther, which puts him on the same level of prestige as Jennifer Lawrence – with her Oscar nomination, as well as Woody Harrelson – with his two Oscar nominations. Elba’s kind of perfect for a role like Chaff, he’s made a living at playing somewhat damaged, but intelligent souls, he’s above average in height at 6’2+, he’s 39– but actually looks a bit older, and he’s not opposed to taking small supporting roles in big budget films. Which, brings me to the sad fact that he’s currently filming Thor 2, where he’s reprising the role of Heimdall the Gate Keeper, so unless that project finishes out within the next month or so, Elba’s not going to nab the role of Chaff. Or maybe he already has! Wishful thinking, guys– wishful thinking.

Next up is another fine man who is also going to fall into the Wishful Thinking Category, actually, I think everyone I’m going to name is going in that box, unfortunately. Denzel Washington, he’s quite possibly the most recognizable, and successful black actor known for not doing sequels, in the entire world. I really like the idea of Denzel in this role for many reasons, but one of them is that the man hasn’t had a hit film in years, in fact he hasn’t had a hit since American Gangster in 2007, he also hasn’t been nominated or won a prestigious award since 2001 when he won Best Actor at the Oscar’s for Training Day. Aside from his career foibles of late, he’s still a force to be reckoned with, and I personally think that taking a supporting role where his acting abilities will be used, rather than just his name to get people into theater seats, would do good for his career, it would also put Catching Fire on a whole other level by having not one, but two Oscar-winning actors in the cast. One thing though, Denzel’s 57 years old, but if they cast him– which seems very unlikely, they could always attribute him looking slightly older than his years, by playing up the psychological affects of winning the games.

Come on down Mr. Jamie Foxx! I just keep naming Oscar winners, I’m sorry– I can’t help it, Philip Seymour Hoffman being cast has made me think they’ll go for the cream of the crop, and not the day players from network TV! Foxx, of course won an Oscar back in 2004 for Ray, where he played Ray Charles the beloved rock and roll pianist, who was also blind. I never saw Ray personally, but I have seen Foxx in Collateral, which was a pretty much just a two-man show with him and Tom Cruise in a taxi cab. Foxx was the taxi driver, Cruise was the hit-man who gets into Foxx’s cab, proceeds to threaten him into driving him around all night while he goes around doing, well– his job. After Collateral Foxx’s career blew up with Ray, and Jarhead, which I saw, and then Dreamgirls which I didn’t, and then he was The Soloist opposite Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. Foxx could hopefully never be seen as a poor choice for the role of Chaff, he’s proven his acting chops, he’s the right age at 44, true he’s only 5’10, but sadly right now his IMDb page list three other projects in pre-production, so– he’s a wishful just like Elba and Washington.

Last but not least, in this sinking ship of hopes and dreams, is Don Cheadle. Ah ha, another Oscar nominee! Idris Elba is starting to look like small potatoes now, huh? Anyway, Cheadle’s one of those character actors who not afraid of making himself look ridiculous, as evidenced by the hilarious Funny or Die sketches he’s done, but he’s also not afraid of taking supporting roles even after being nominated for Best Actor for Hotel Rwanda back in 2005, which brings the waxing philosophic to a close on Cheadle, because he’s currently filming Iron Man 3! Why must all my hopes and dreams for this role be already taken by other roles?

Well, that’s that folks– whoever gets it is going to get to kiss Jennifer Lawrence, so let’s all hope (and those of us who pray), pray that they have good oral hygiene, y’know– for Jennifer’s sake.

Them There Eyes

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The Feline Has Escaped the Sack

When Monday came around and the news that Jena Malone was officially cast in Catching Fire, I was actually amused.

Why?

Because my initial thought was “Is this because of Josh?”

Let’s back up here. Sunday night, the night before the announcement, after winning his Choice Movie Actor award at the Teen Choice Awards, Josh Hutcherson was interviewed by Access Hollywood about being excited about the Catching Fire cast, and he mentioned Jena Malone. At that point, there had not been confirmation that she was cast to play Johanna Mason. Essentially, he appeared to have let the cat out of the bag.

Never let this cat out of the bag

So I had to wonder, was this casting announcement actually scheduled for Monday? Could it have maybe been scheduled for today, but bumped up to avoid articles the next day full of speculation from the media. Beat them to the punch the next day before it can just be another sensationalized rumor article! Damage control!

Or then again it could’ve just been scheduled for Monday. Contrary to some whisperings I’ve been hearing, not all casting announcements come on Tuesdays. Amanda Plummer’s may have, but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s was on a Monday as well. So there is no way to divine when a casting announcement will happen. We just know they don’t happen on weekends. And there are still many spaces on CatchingFireCasting.com that need to be filled up! So be on alert. When casting for The Hunger Games happened, casting news came every day at one point (thanks to Savanna New for reminding us!).

And Josh, we hope you didn’t get in trouble! And we hope Lionsgate doesn’t make you get rid of your fledgeling sideburns as punishment (actually we do).

Something about Buttercup and the orange backpack
Twiffidy

Shhhhhhhh!!!

Back when I was a teenager, y’know when flying cars were totally going to happen in 15 years, and dial-up was pretty much the only form of Internet access, there was this film that came out called Fight Club. You may have heard of it, but if you haven’t, don’t worry I won’t give away the plot, but I will say this– I think the rules invented, and spouted off by one of the lead characters played by none other than Brad Pitt, fit like a perfectly crafted cashmere sweater, the v-neck kind that are meant to hug the body not swamp it, anyway the rules fit the people who want to be part of The Hunger Games family. And those rules are right there in that picture, just click it to make it bigger if you can’t see, but if you can see them plainly, I think you might agree with me on what I’m about to say. Talking about wanting to be part of The Hunger Games is the kiss of death. Think about it, nearly every actor or actress who has expressed in some form or another, that they’d love to play such and such a character, and that “it would be so cool to be part of that project,” and blah blah blah– NONE of these people have had their wish granted. Read me correctly, NONE.

Okay, okay– maybe people like, say, Jena Malone has put vague messages on her Instagram, but she never said to Perez Hilton, or went on Twitter and tweeted “I’d love to play Johanna!” She doesn’t even have a Twitter, and I somehow doubt she’d give Perez Hilton the time of day, unlike one poor, blond, champion skier, who has an alarming resemblance to a molded plastic doll I used to try to rip the head off of, but never could (it was stuck on there really tight, guys). Then, of course, there’s Kristen Bell whom many people have taken issue with where it comes to her expressed desire to portray Johanna Mason. And then, I have to bring them up, but Lucas Till, and Hunter Parrish may have signed their own death warrants where it comes to securing a role. Why? Because they both spoke to the media before the final decision was made in last years casting of Peeta, and now Parrish has gone and done the same thing where it comes to Finnick Odair. Only time will tell if Parrish may have jinxed himself again! Till, however hasn’t said a peep, and who’s to know if those gossip rags that have sadly been feeding our Hunger Games info-stream as of late, even have legit information. So, there’s also really no way of knowing if the rumor that Till auditioned for Finnick was even true. If you didn’t know that Till allegedly has auditioned, there ya’ go… have fun with that, hope it doesn’t make you want to throw things, or smash things… whichever. Gotta say it, kind of hope it’s not true, ’cause he’s screamingly not Finnick material in my eyes at all.

I don’t know what’s going through these people’s minds, but I really think they need to rip a page out of Tyler Durden’s rule book (Brad Pitt’s character from Fight Club— do I really have to explain this? Really?), but just change a few words. And those words would be, “the first rule of The Hunger Games franchise is, if you want to be part of The Hunger Games franchise, don’t talk about wanting to be part of The Hunger Games franchise.”

                    Rinse and repeat, or you may end up looking like this guy.


Being Wrong Has Never Tasted So Sweet

Where to begin!? Oh, right– I LOVE BEING WRONG! No really, I love it, but only in this particular case, because well– I really, truly, and honestly did not want (erm, gonna be mean), a wannabe Victoria Secret model embodying Johanna Mason. Alright, if you’ve been camping, living under a rock, or generally without Internet access for the last 27 hours +, we got confirmation yesterday, the third of July, that Jena Malone has been offered the role of Johanna Mason. Gotta be confession-y now, I cried when I read The Hollywood Reporter headline. No, wait, first I shot up in my seat, shouted “oh my god!” wrapped my hand over the bottom portion of my face (mouth), and proceeded to sob, and then cry. I’m so glad no one else was home, people would have thought someone had died. No worries, they were tears of joy, and the elation lasted for about 40 minutes. Yep, only 40, because then the deluge of hate starting souring my high.

I’m just gonna say it, but what is with this fandom, and off shoots of it, and its outright

Stop being baby stank faces!

pooh flinging in the name of race, and racial equality, or just completely misplaced hate, or justice, or whatever. I don’t know how, or why, or when The Hunger Games became the poster child franchise of “whitewashing”, but last time I checked, i.e. last time I read the bloody books, all the characters who were clearly described to be not white, or white, were later cast properly, and well with actors and actresses of stellar talent, and also with genuinely good people. Note: “Not white” means people who did not receive a description of their skin color, i.e, Cinna, or Johanna, this means their casting is and/or was open to interpretation, that is why we got Lenny Kravitz, and probably why we also may have got Jena Malone.

Let’s get this out-of-the-way, shall we? Johanna Mason’s description was NEVER “Johanna Mason, the only surviving female District 7 victor, a young woman who was proud of her Latin origins, who stood 5’9′ at the round age of 20, her tan colored skin shone with a healthy luster, and her pitch black hair was glossy in the sunlight, her strong sturdy legs were imposing, and she had a physique of a person who spent the majority of their time doing hard physical labor, her arms cut with lines and grooves of muscle, her posture confident and prideful…” Yeah, I didn’t read that description anywhere, did you? Pretty sure no one did, unless they got boot-leg copies of the books, and they were frankly edited to within an inch of their paper-y lives. Let’s count it off, all the things we know about Johanna Mason.

  • She’s the only surviving female victor hailing from lovely, wooded, District 7!
  • She “won a few years back by pretending she was a weakling.” (p. 190 American Hardcover edition)
  • “Wicked ability to murder.” (p. 214)
  • Spiky hair, and wide-set brown eyes. (p. 214)
  • Exhibitionist, i.e. totally flaunts her bits in front of everyone.
  • Attitude problem.
  • Dislikes Katniss.
  • Likes Finnick.
  • Handy with an ax.
  • Lost everyone she cares about at the hands of the Capitol.

That is all we know about her, we don’t know her cultural heritage, because frankly all cultural heritage has pretty much lost its hold on people thanks to the Capitol’s hold, except in their names, and in minute traces in foods, music, and marriage

Spiky isn’t a color!

customs. Speaking of names, Johanna’s name is a strongly European name, in fact my great, great, great grandmother who was born and raised in Germany in the 19th century, her name was Johanna. And the name Mason is Anglo-Saxon, meaning it’s from the Island of Britain, take those snip-its, and run with ’em– m’kay.  But no one can truly pin-point if the origins of the Districts customs are IRISH, LATIN, GERMAN, SCANDINAVIAN, IRANIANENGLISH, PUNJABI, EGYPTIAN, NIGERIAN, or any number of other nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. We don’t even get the color of Johanna’s skin described to us, let alone the color of her hair. I know everyone claims that she’s a brunette, but I just spent a good amount of time scouring my copy of Catching Fire, and literally the only description of Johanna’s hair is “spiky”, and “spiky” last time I checked isn’t a color, or a cultural marker. Also, face it, guys– skin color, and hair color are not markers of one’s heritage, because you could have mocha colored skin, and red hair and your family just happens to have never left the subcontinent of India. So, folks who are currently fuming because Jena Malone isn’t a Latina goddess with shiny black hair, with muscular arms, and tan skin, get off your unicorns, ’cause they don’t exist. I’ve seen some disturbing stuff out there on the Internets claiming that Hollywood isn’t trying hard enough to diversify the casts of their films, however to me– and in the case of this franchise, I know they filled out the cast with a wide variety of people. Hell, I even remember a friend of mine claiming that they didn’t like that Liam Hemsworth was Gale, because he looked too Native American, so there! Also, if the multiple rumors are even remotely true, Lionsgate wanted a Latina actress in the role of Johanna, but perhaps that actress wasn’t interested, and then there’s the rumor that they want Cicely Tyson, a black actress, in the role of Mags. So, they are still supposedly trying to fill out the cast with a spectrum of people, so please for the love of Peeta’s damaged soul, calm your tits!

They’ve chosen a reputable, seasoned, and talented actress to potentially portray a woman of substance, not a teen idol, or a fledgling actress who just graduated high school, or an actress who just graduated fictional high school at that. I think this is a win win situation, and if you don’t, you probably will when you see Malone in action next November. Yes, I think she’ll take the gig, she’d be insane not to.

Them There Eyes