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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jennifer Lawrence

'Hunger Games' sequel 'Catching Fire' due nearly two years later

August 8, 2011 | 11:29 am


Fans of the dark young-adult novel "The Hunger Games" are already licking their lips for the movie version, which will star Jennifer Lawrence and come out this March.

Catchingfi But they'll have to wait a fair bit longer for their next fix: Lionsgate Entertainment announced Monday morning that it was indeed dating "Catching Fire," the movie based on Suzanne Collins' second book about heroine Katniss Everdeen. But that date isn't anytime soon -- the second film in the post-apocalyptic series won't come out until Nov. 22, 2013, about 20 months after the first movie hits theaters on March 23, 2012.

The move is a departure from what conventional wisdom says about movies based on young-adult books -- namely, try not to let too much time elapse between films (so as to avoid audience and stars aging out of a franchise). Summit Entertainment brought out the second movie in "The Twilight Saga" just a year after the first, and the third film just six months after that, though it is leaving 18 months between the third and fourth movies.

In a statement, Lionsgate co-Chief Operating Officer Joe Drake didn't offer an explanation for the lag but did note that "the stories truly offer something for everyone, and the period around the Thanksgiving weekend is such an opportunity for families and friends to make an event of going to the movies.” Indeed, the studio is probably hoping that by the time the second movie rolls around it will have gained enough prominence to make it worthy of a holiday release.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne fill out the love triangle in "The Hunger Games," which is currently in production with director Gary Ross.


Hunger Games: Is Jennifer Lawrence Katniss?

Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth complete love triangle

Hero Complex: How director Gary Ross got the Hunger Games gig

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times. "Catching Fire." Credit: Scholastic Books

'Hunger Games' begins to fill out its cast

April 19, 2011 |  6:19 pm

Elizabethbanks Lionsgate, the studio turning  Suzanne Collins' uber-popular franchise "The Hunger Games" into a movie series, is going straight to the fans with its casting choices for the film, announcing their selections on the official Facebook fan page. The studio has revealed the casting of four new faces, and sources say actress Elizabeth Banks (left) is in negotiations to play Effie Trinket, the high-strung escort to protagonist Katniss Everdeen, to be portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"). The role of Peeta Mellark will be played by Josh Hutcherson ("The Kids Are All Right"), and Liam Hemsworth ("The Last Song") has also recently signed on to play Katniss' longtime friend and hunting partner, Gale Hawthorne.

For those not familiar with the tween, post-apocalyptic series, the first book centers on a world divided into 12 districts. Each year, two teenagers are chosen from each district to compete in "The Hunger Games," a televised fight to the death. The teenagers are deemed "tributes" and adorned with all kinds of prizes and honor prior to walking into an elaborate arena where they are forced to kill or be killed.

Thus far, Lionsgate has announced that Jack Quaid and Leven Rambin will play the two tributes Marvel and Glimmer from the wealthy District 1. Quaid, making his big-screen debut, is the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, while Rambin has been a regular on daytime soap "All My Children" for the past six years. The impoverished District 11's choices have also been made, with another film rookie, Dayo Okeniyi, playing Thresh and young Amandla Stenberg playing Rue, a diminutive tribute and ally of Katniss Everdeen.

And while Lionsgate isn't announcing Banks as Effie, sources confirm that the actress is in negotiations for the part. Filming of "The Hunger Games" is expected to begin in the next few months with the film's release date scheduled for next March.

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Elizabeth Banks. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images


'The Hunger Games': Josh Hutcherson versus Liam Hemsworth

Hemsworth and Hutcherson complete the love triangle


'The Hunger Games': Is Jennifer Lawrence the new Katniss?

March 14, 2011 |  1:51 pm

Lawrence1 The rumor mill was running on overdrive over the weekend regarding Jennifer Lawrence and "The Hunger Games."  The 20-year-old actress, who spent much of 2010 in the spotlight due to her star-turning role in "Winter's Bone," is definitely the front-runner for the highly coveted role of Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the uber-popular dystopian series by Suzanne Collins.

But the actress has yet to be offered the part.

Lionsgate, the studio behind the publishing sensation that may have just enough romance, danger and high-concept adventure to dethrone "Twilight" from its perch as the "it" phenomenon, is being very careful as they make their selection for the lead part. And they are not talking. People with knowledge of the casting process who spoke on condition of anonymity tell us that Lawrence is loved by a few key executives at the studio but due to the importance of the property, Lionsgate wants to conduct a few more tests of the actresses in contention before making an offer.

(Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old actress who also won acclaim last year with her performance in "True Grit," is up for the role too, but there may be concern that she is too young to actually pull off the  adventuresome huntress.)

There's no denying part of Katniss is  compelling. The 16-year-old is a brave protagonist and caretaker of her family. She volunteers for the Hunger Games, an annual event where children between the ages of 12 and 18 fight each other to the death, after her younger sister is first chosen to compete. The story features a compelling love triangle but shares little else with the "Twilight" franchise.

Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") has been hired to direct what could be a trilogy, should the first film connect with audiences. The studio hopes to begin production shortly with a release date already set for March 23, 2012.

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Feb. 27 in West Hollywood. Credit:    Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images


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