“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — the second installment in the movie franchise based on the young-adult book trilogy by Suzanne Collins — is still more than 10 months away, but fans got their first glimpse of the film Wednesday morning.
The first released image from “Catching Fire” shows Katniss Everdeen (reprised by Jennifer Lawrence) and Finnick Odair (newcomer Sam Claflin, of “Snow White and the Huntsman” fame), who aims to break the young archer’s concentration during training.
In the books, set in a post-apocalyptic North America called Panem, Katniss is one of 24 tributes forced to compete in a televised fight to the death for the amusement of the wealthy residents of the Capitol. Finnick Odair is introduced in the second book as a former champion and a cocky heartthrob who charms his way through the upper echelons of Capitol society.
Released in March of last year, “The Hunger Games” was well-received by fans of the bestselling books and raked in more than $686 million at the worldwide box office. Many cast members are returning for the sequel, including Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson as fellow tribute Peeta Mellark, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Liam Hemsworth as hometown hottie Gale Hawthorne, Woody Harrelson as mentor Haymitch Abernathy, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and Toby Jones.
New to the sequel are Claflin, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman and at least a dozen more actors.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is directed by Francis Lawrence, whose previous credits include “Water For Elephants,” “I Am Legend” and “Constantine.” He also is slated to direct the final two films in the “Hunger Games” franchise, the two-part adaptation of the third book, “Mockingjay.”
“Catching Fire” is due in theaters on Nov. 22.
— Noelene Clark
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