Melissa Leo Talks about Losing Mags in Catching Fire; Elizabeth Banks Thrilled to Work with Lynn Cohen

Melissa Leo’s name was tossed into the Mags casting craze last week. Rumor has it that Melissa Leo was offered to play the role of Mags but then few days after that Lionsgate has released an announcement that Lynn Cohen will play Mags in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Now, Melissa Leo has talked to Moviefone about her involvement in the Mags casting rumor:

I would have liked to have done it, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be mine,” she said while chatting with Moviefone Monday afternoon, in support of her new film, “Why Stop Now.” Informed that Cohen had been confirmed as an addition to the cast, she responded, “Who? Oh, I’ll have to look her up.”

Leo said that being a part of the Hunger Games franchise was “a dear hope.” She hadn’t read the books, she told Moviefone, but the trailer for the first film excited her.

“I’m not much of a reader and that might very well be part of the reason that I did not get the role,” she said.

Melissa Leo

On the other hand, Elizabeth Banks was thrilled to learn that Lynn Cohens is the official Mags! In her blog post:

“Lynn Cohen is Mags!” Elizabeth Banks, who plays Capitol crony Effie Trinket in the popular series, crowed on her blog early Monday morning. Lionsgate confirmed Cohen’s casting late last week.

Cohen, whose previous credits include “Sex and the City” and “Munich,” among others, will play the aging former Hunger Games winner who becomes important to heroine Katniss Everdeen over the course of the series’ second installment.

Banks, for her part, was thrilled about the choice of Cohen to play Mags.

“She seems like a pretty rad lady and I’m excited to work with her,” Banks wrote. “I know she’ll mentor Finnick like nobody’s business.”

Santa Monica, CA, August 2, 2012- Lionsgate® and the filmmakers of THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE are pleased to announce that Lynn Cohen has been cast in the role of Mags in the much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ worldwide smash hit novel Catching Fire. A former mentor to Finnick Odair, Mags is an eighty year old Hunger Games victor from District 4. 

Known to New York theater audiences for decades of memorable roles, Cohen has also appeared in critically acclaimed films such as Steven Spielberg’s Munich and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, NY, as well as commercial fare such as Sex and The City and its sequel. She can next be seen in They Came Together, with Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. 


THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark.   Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts.  Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE will be directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the second in a trilogy that has sold more than 50 million books in print and digital in the U.S. alone.

Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE on November 22, 2013.

Ongoing casting news and information for the film can be found at:

Lynn Cohens is Mags