When Josh Hutcherson was snapped leaving a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon’s office yesterday afternoon, with a bandaged, swollen nose, we knew that he wasn’t getting that adorable mug tweaked for vanity reasons. He’d tweeted about breaking his nose last Wednesday. But because he hasn’t yet revealed how he broke it, fans and bloggers, like our pals at Crushable, have been forced to come up with some wild theories. This morning, we came up with our own, based on news via The Hunger Games Examiner that audition info has been posted for Catching Fire.
Our wild theory? There are some over-eager Finnick and Johanna wannabes out there, ambushing Hunger Games fans in hopes of gaining the attention of director Frances Lawrence for the sequel. No? We are crazy and trying to link everything in Hutcherson’s life to Peeta? You got us there.
Aaaanyway. On the Acting-Auditions.org, a notice lists the tributes that will be cast in L.A., noting that extras and stand-ins will be hired in North Carolina, where shooting will begin this summer (so the site says, but Lionsgate’s most recent press release said fall).
Obviously, things are complicated in Hollywood when you’re handing a super-successful movie franchise over to a new director. We get that. Still, when we saw Lionsgate’s press release announcing the Francis Lawrence would be directing the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, we scratched our heads a bit. This news was all but confirmed two weeks ago! You have to start filming VERY SOON! What have you been waiting for? CAST FINNICK ALREADY!
Err… Sorry about that little outburst. I mean, if we’re feeling anxious about this, imagine how poor Francis Lawrence feels. Well, officially, he’s feeling pretty good. Here’s what he said in the press release: “It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring Catching Fire, the second chapter of Suzanne’s beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can’t wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved.”
And here’s what producer Nina Jacobson had to say about him: “From my first conversation with Francis, I knew he would make a great partner for both me and Suzanne. His passion for Catching Fire and inspired ideas for a faithful adaptation make him the perfect director for this movie. I know this will be a wonderful collaboration and I cannot wait to get started.”
We can’t wait either. Now get to work! (The releases says production begins “this fall” and the movie release date is still November 22, 2013.)
Related: Catching Fire Director Francis Lawrence: 5 Signs He’ll Do Right By Hunger Games Sequel
5 Ways Josh Hutcherson Can Use His Punk’d Experience To Play Peeta Mellark
[Photo: Lionsgate, Getty Images]
The Civil Wars have not one but TWO songs on The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond soundtrack album. Not only did they write and record “Kingdom Come”, but they collaborated with Taylor Swift on “Safe & Sound.” So when they came into town recently to tape their brand new episode of VH1 Unplugged, we naturally asked them where their allegiances lie. Are they on Team Peeta, or do they rep Team Gale?
“I don’t think I’ve chosen a particular team, whether it’s Peeta or Gale,” singer Joy Williams began, before John Paul White swiftly interjected, “I’m Team Haymitch. I’m with Woody [Harrelson].”
We then pressed Joy further, but she was adamant in her refusal to choose sides. “What I do love about it is that the characters are so flawed, every one of them. Which makes each of them so human, and so accessible. So, I couldn’t say I prefer one of them over the other.”
Watch their special Unplugged performance of “Kingdom Come” below!
Is this the dawn of a new era? The 2012 MTV Movie Awards nominations were announced today, and we’re not sure whether to be surprised about them: The Hunger Games and Bridesmaids lead the pack, with eight nominations apiece; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and 21 Jumpstreet follow with six nods each; and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is way down on the list with only two nominations. After so many years of Twilight mania ruling the show, does this mark the end of an era? Maybe. But it’s also pretty obviously the result of the nominees being chosen entirely by a panel of actors, producers and other insiders rather than by fans as it was last year, when Eclipse lead the pack with eight nods.
Of course, Twi-hards should be relieved to see Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in their time-honored slot among the Best Kiss nominees. As we predicted, they’ll be going liplock-to-liplock with Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence — along with Crazy, Stupid, Love’s Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Deathly Hallows’ Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, and The Vow’s Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. When VH1 News caught up with Hutcherson last month, he didn’t think he had too much of a chance to beat Robsten.
We already think Josh Hutcherson did a great job as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, but the kid’s got a lot of work ahead of him still. Catching Fire and Mockingjay are no walk in the park for the baker’s boy. So we’re very glad MTV and Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale took it upon themselves to help him keep his acting chops in shape by targeting him in last night’s episode of Punk’d. Hutch thought he was going out for coffee and lunch with two of his friends, but the friend in the driver’s seat realized their car was being followed and soon they found themselves being interrogated in an LAPD station. Through it all, Josh kept his cool in a way that would make Haymitch proud, even if he may have been freaking out on the inside. Here’s how we think this whole experience can help him enter the arena once more. (Warning: Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read books two and three.)
1. Josh calmly identifies himself to the 911 operator (Lucy Hale), and doesn’t even mention the fact that the mysterious voice coming from a radio in the car has poked fun of his “dirty, one-size-too-small tank top.” Peeta is also used to being under surveillance and knows not to lose his cool in front of the cameras.
We’re not completely recovered from the loss of Gary Ross as director of The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, due to scheduling constraints (they say). But last night we learned that Lionsgate has decided to hand the reins over to Francis Lawrence, the director of Water for Elephants and I Am Legend, and we are starting to calm down a little bit. No, he doesn’t have the Oscar-nominee pedigree as Ross. And none of his movies have received the kind of critical raves that Ross’ Seabiscuit and Pleasantville did. But his resume, which also includes a ton of amazing music videos (for everyone from Aerosmith to Justin Timberlake to Lady Gaga), contains some solid reassurance that he’ll be able to hold his own with Catching Fire.
1. He can do post-apocalyptic settings. See: I Am Legend.
2. He can do strong ladies wearing amazing costumes in post-apocalyptic settings. See: Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls).”
Miley Cyrus has already struck out at the press for daring to suspect that the ring she wears on her left ring finger is a sign that she and Hunger Games bf Liam Hemsworth are engaged. But the folks at E! were brave enough to slip a question about those two crazy kids into their interview with Chris Hemsworth at the L.A. premiere of The Avengers last night.
“They’re, like, 21 or something,” he said. Um, wait. We know Chris is busy these days, what with reprising his role as Thor and starring in Snow White and the Huntsman and expecting a new baby with wife Elsa Pataky, but does he really not know how old his brother is? For the record, bro, Liam turned 22 in January (you know, at that penis cake party… where Demi Moore was chugging Red Bull in the corner), and Miley is 19. Anyway, their age, whatever it may be, is why he “can’t see that happening.”
It’s probably a good thing that rumors have been swirling for weeks that Gary Ross would back out of The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. Otherwise we would be reeling from his announcement, made late last night, that he is dropping the project. As it is, we’re still pretty stunned. And Lionsgate is apparently feeling like a jilted bride.
“Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire,” Ross said in a statement released to Deadline. “As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.”
Man, we know it takes a lot of time to make a movie, but is this a believable reason? From the time he was named director of The Hunger Games in November 2010 to the movie’s release last month, he had about 16 months. That’s about two months less than the time he has before the November 22, 2013 release date of Catching Fire — and he already has his main cast in place. But Ross is sticking to that argument, saying that “contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.”
We’re still enjoying this little breather in between awards season madness and summer blockbusters, but our own Kate Spencer already has the MTV Movie Awards on her mind — specifically, the Best Kiss Golden Popcorn, which has been dominated by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson for three years now. When she got a minute with Hunger Games cutie Josh Hutcherson at the NewNowNext Awards, she gave him the toughest of tough questions: Will Katniss and Peeta’s cave kiss rival any of Bella and Edward’s from Breaking Dawn – Part 1?
“I don’t know, they had a great kiss,” he admitted. “Theirs was so passionate. Ours was like, I was on my deathbed, wasn’t very sexy. I don’t know, we’ll see. Maybe. I’d be so lucky. One can only hope.”
We’ve been worried sick about the news that Gary Ross and Lionsgate are still on the fence about whether the director will return for The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. (Negotiations are ongoing as of Monday, we hear.) Would anyone else be able to nail the tone of this story the way he did? But now, we’ve decided not to fret, thanks to Sofia Vergara and Saturday Night Live, who showed us what the movie would be like in the hands of someone, well, less reverent.
In a pink Effie Trinket wig, Vergara shimmied, laughed and gave a great Univision-worthy yell as the Capitol’s newest Hunger Games correspondent, Maria Gutierrez, reporting live from the arena and enjoying herself immensely as the kids stab each other nearby. And in the studio, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen yukked it up as Claudius and Caesar, echoing a number of silly sports news show SNL’s done over the years.