After landing on director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) for The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, Lionsgate has just announced the addition of acting-heavyweight Philip Seymour Hoffman (Moneyball, Capote). He will play Plutarch Heavensbee, the next Head Gamemaker who oversees the 75th Annual Hunger Games following the exit of Seneca Crane. In the first installment, the Head Gamemaker played by Wes Bentley was a caricatured figurehead. Hoffman as Heavensbee will likely have a larger on-screen presence and an even more antagonistic approach. He also probably won’t need a crazy looking beard.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen was really the only above-average performance in The Hunger Games, so the filmmakers of the sequel are taking a refreshing step by insuring the next two films retain a critically successful tone, and not just one that appeals to teenage hormones. Or maybe it will be both. It’s actually curious as to why Hoffman agreed to the role, just having ended a successful run on Broadway with Death of a Salesman. Perhaps he saw something in the role he could have a lot of fun with.
There is no word yet on what Philip Seymour Hoffman will be paid–though he will almost certainly return for the franchise finale Mockinjay. So the Academy Award winner will surely enjoy a handsome salary for the blockbusters. Catching Fire is set to have a late fall release date of November 22, 2013.