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‘Hunger Games’ New Gamemaker: Philip Seymour Hoffman?

Oscar-winning actor approached to take over spot originated by Wes Bentley


If you think the Hunger Games are dangerous inside the arena, try being the guy who’s running it and screws up.

Spoiler alert: That’s something Seneca Crane, played by Wes Bentley, learned the hard way in “The Hunger Games” earlier this year. So what will happen with this replacement, Plutarch Heavensbee?

Book readers already know, but for the rest of us who are just waiting for the movie, we might have a chance to see yet another popular actor join the cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won an Oscar in 2006 for “Capote,” could be looking for his first genre credit by possibly joining the cast of the “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire.”

Hoffman would play Heavensbee, a character who will have a tremendous role in later films, if the story continues to follow the popular book series by Suzanne Collins. In the book series, Heavensbee had a small cameo shot as one of the judges who ends up in a punch bowl when Katniss shoots her arrow into the judges chamber, but that character (at least by name) was not included in the 2012 film that has now grossed more than $400 million domestically.

There is no word yet on whether Hoffman will take the role, which was offered to him on Monday. The offer, according to The Hollywood Reporter, came the same day he left his long-time managing company Paradigm.

Hoffman, who will turn 45 in July, also received Oscar nominations in 2008 for “Charlie Wilson’s War” and in 2009 for “Doubt.” He was also nominated for an Emmy in 2005 for HBO’s “Empire Falls,” and a Daytime Emmy in 2010 for the animated series “Arthur.” He has also been nominated for eight Screen Actor Guild awards since 1999 (many as part of an ensemble cast), but won in 2006 for “Capote.”

Hoffman most recently played Art Howe in the Oscar-nominated film “Moneyball,” and has finished work on a drama with Christopher Walken called “A Late Quartet” as well as Paul Thomas Anderson’s new British drama “The Master” with Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix. He is set to join Rachel McAdams in the thriller “Most Wanted,” but it’s not clear how that film would conflict with his schedule if he were to join “Catching Fire.”

Francis Lawrence has taken over the director’s chair for “Catching Fire,” which will feature the return of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, as well as Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. Liam Hemsworth also is set to reprise his role as Gale Hawthorne in the sequel.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is expected to begin filming this fall, with Lionsgate eyeing a November 2013 release.

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