Fans of Suzanne Collins’ whimsical child murder novel, “The Hunger Games,” will tell you that one of the big differences between her book and its eventual film adaptation was that the role of the deadly games’ designer, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), was dramatically increased for the screen. In the book we see the events of the games from solely the protagonist’s perspective, so the deadly obstacles that are put in her path always come as a surprise. But in the film, we see Bentley’s character setting everything up and reacting to the ways the players handle his tricks and traps. It made the position of the Gamemaker seem far more important than it ever had before.
Seeing as Bentley’s character had fallen out of favor with the powers that be by the end of The Hunger Games, its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is going to have to find a new puppet master. And given the newfound importance of the role in the story’s movie universe, as well as the fact that the second Gamemaker is a more important character than the first in the source material, Catching Fire’s director, Francis Lawrence, will seemingly have to find a big name actor to step into the role. There isn’t need to worry though, reports are he’s already made an important move toward doing just that.
The new news, which was first revealed in a Tweet by Variety’s Jeff Sneider and has since been confirmed by all the other trades, is that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been offered the role of the new Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee. As fans of “The Hunger Games” novels could tell you (and probably at length), Heavensbee isn’t a character who just comes and goes like Bentley’s Seneca Crane, so if Hoffman ends up accepting the offer he’ll be agreeing to become a fairly large – though ridiculously named – part of the Hunger Games mythos.
Hoffman has been a celebrated and beloved performer for years, but other than in his one-off role as the villain of the third Mission: Impossible movie, we’ve never seen him become a part of a big franchise like this before. The idea feels a little strange at first, but it’s certainly enticing. He wasn’t British enough to be one of the teachers in Harry Potter, so this might be the best way for us to see what Hoffman has to offer a big, adventure-themed production. And who wouldn’t want an opportunity to watch Jennifer Lawrence trade dialogue with an actor this accomplished? The ball is in your court, Mr. Hoffman, don’t let us down.