Here we go again! Cast Blast is Wide Screen's weekly round-up of all the notable casting bits from Hollywood and beyond. Since a certain sequel has been dominating that casting news feeds this week, this Cast Blast is a special "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" edition.
Studio Lionsgate has been busy filling out the ranks of District tributes for "Catching Fire" with near-daily casting updates. The sequel to this year's "Hunger Games" centres on the 75th annual Hunger Games, the s0-called Quarter Quell that brings back past champs to battle it out once again, including the first film's Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson).
Lionsgate announced yesterday that square-jawed television actor Alan Ritchson ("Smallville") has joined "Catching Fire" as former District 1 champion Gloss. Described in Suzanne Collins' novel as being blonde haired and physically imposing, Ritchson certainly fits the bill. Thanks to stints as uber-jock Thad Castle in the TV series "Blue Mountain State" and as Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman on "Smallville," Ritchson has demonstrated he has the physical prowess required to play a highly trained career tribute. It's too bad Gloss won't be required to sing in "Catching Fire," as a memorable American Idol audition proved that Ritchson is serious boy band material.
On Wednesday, Lionsgate let slip that Meta Golding will join "Catching Fire" as District 2 tribute Enobaria, a Hunger Games victor known for her mean bite. Having won the 62nd Hunger Games by biting the throat of her opponent, Enobaria went on to have her teeth altered into razor sharp golden fangs. Along with fellow District 2 tribute Brutus, she was likely a mentor to Cato (Alexander Ludwig) from the first film. The former figure-skater-turned-actress has appeared in films like "Surrogates" and the TV series "Dark Blue," but "Catching Fire" will be her biggest role to date.
Speaking of Brutus, there had been a lot of speculation about who would be playing the big man in "Catching Fire." There had been rumours that former wrestler and "Magic Mike" co-star Kevin Nash was in talks for the part of the hulking District 2 tribute, but Lionsgate put those rumours to bed earlier this week. Actor Bruno Gunn ("Sons of Anarchy") is set to play Brutus, a former Hunger Games victor who is actually looking forward to competing in the Quarter Quell. Gunn definitely has the looks and stature for the part, and as long as he can take down his an opponents in a suitably brutal fashion, then Lionsgate has found the right guy for the part. With mostly bit roles under his belt, it's a safe bet that he probably hasn't been hired for his acting chops.
What do you think of these "Catching Fire" casting choices? Are they right for the roles?
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film will start shooting in just a few weeks for a scheduled release date of Nov. 22, 2013.