While we anxiously await confirmation from Lionsgate that Jena Malone has been officially cast as Johanna Mason, Perri Nemiroff from Movies.com got reactions from top fan sites after the news broke. We’ve included a few of them below, but make sure you head on over to Movies.com to see the all of the reactions.
Savanna – Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Assuming this is true, I am so unbelievably thrilled! I’ve been “following” Jena Malone’s career since she appeared in Donnie Darko in 2001, and I’ve always been impressed by her performances and by the interesting and challenging choices that she’s made. She’s incredibly talented, and I know that she’ll be able to inject this role with all of the feistiness, badass-ness, and depth that it requires. For those who don’t think she looks the part, remember, we know that Johanna has wide-set brown eyes and short brown hair, but that’s it. Personally, I’m psyched that Jena is on the petite side, as Johanna won her Games by convincing her competitors that she was weak; it wouldn’t really make sense for her to be very tall or muscular. The bottom line is that if you’re a great actor, you can look like and be anything or anyone, and Jena truly is great. I, for one, will be resting easy tonight!
Crystal – Mockingjay.net
While I think Jena is too old to be the book Johanna Mason, it’s a movie and therefore allowances have to be made. I get that Jennifer looks much older than she should and so I understand why Johanna has to be aged up. And if aging up helps Garrett Hedlund in any way, I’m all for it! I’ve only seen Jena in Sucker Punch and Contact (when she was like 12). Sad to say that Sucker Punch really disappointed me. It was all fluff and a total guy’s movie, but I definitely think she can pull off the snark and attitude of Johanna. And while I may not have liked Sucker Punch, her role as Rocket is actually similar to Johanna Mason in that she had to play the badass Rocket and her real-life counterpart who was decidedly more weak and vulnerable as a mental patient. (Great for Mockingjay!)
Theresa – Down With The Capitol
Admittedly, I have not seen Jena in action, but I have real faith in Lionsgate’s ability to select the right actors for the roles. They hit it out of the park with The Hunger Games cast, and there is no reason to believe that Catching Fire will be any different. If Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson (and hopefully Suzanne Collins) believe that Jena has the skill to pull off the complex character of Johanna Mason, who are we to argue?
Adam – The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Is Jena Malone a capable actress? Yes. In fact, she’s proven herself to be more than capable throughout her career, playing a variety of roles quite well in many different genres. However, Johanna Mason has not been in her repertoire to date. Lots of fans and colleagues have been touting Sucker Punch as evidence that she can play rough, but I wasn’t a huge fan of her performance there, and I think she is more suited for films like Saved! or – in what was an unheralded effort – The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Of course, Lionsgate has proven clairvoyant with some of its past selections, and I’m inclined to give the studio the benefit of the doubt, but surely there was a better prototype out there for a badass exhibitionist. Then again, as Whit Stillman writes in Metropolitan, “Playing strip poker with an exhibitionist somehow takes the challenge away.”
Please share you thoughts with us on this big, and hopefully soon confirmed, casting news. Personally I’m very excited about this and think Jena will make a great Johanna!