Casting for the final two-part installment in the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, is now underway following the huge success of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Most of the roles have been filled already but this week Lionsgate announced the casting of Robert Knepper (Prison Break) as Antonius.
The official Twitter feed for Catching Fire revealed the news:
— Catching Fire (@TheHungerGames) December 11, 2013
But who is Antonius? The character does not actually appear in the book series, and he is apparently never mentioned either. The role was created specifically for the film and Antonis is said to be the minister to President Snow (Donald Sutherland). This would makes sense too, given that while the book series exclusively follows protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the films branch out and give viewers a glimpse into some of the other characters’ lives as well.
Sutherland’s turn as the vicious antagonist is some of the best material in the films, and giving him someone to play off of is a good idea. Additionally, since the book is being split into two parts (an industry standard now for successful book series-to-film adaptations), there will need to be some additional plot filler to comprise 4-5 hours of film.
For those who don’t know, the Hunger Games series involves a futuristic America, now called Panem, split into a wealthy Capitol and twelve starving Districts. Each year, the Capitol selects two children from each District to enter a massive arena and fight to the death, with the winner becoming a celebrity and his or her family receiving bountiful food installments. Following the events of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Panem has erupted into a full-blown rebellion, with Katniss chosen as the beacon of hope and their leader. The mascot of the rebellion (and the series) is the Mockingjay, a hybrid of the fictional jabberjay and a bluebird, able to perfectly replicate any human musical tone.
Part 1 of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay releases November 21, 2014, with Part 2 to follow on November 20, 2015. Francis Lawrence will return to direct.