Actress Jena Malone is in early talks to play Johanna Mason in the highly-anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, putting to rest weeks of speculation as to who will play the integral District 7 tribute.

We reported last month that actresses Mia Wasikowska and newcomer Zoe Aggeliki were the top contenders for the role. Less than a week later, we also reported that Jena Malone emerged as a front runner, and that Mia Wasikowska was no longer in the running. If a deal is finalized, Jena Malone will play Johanna Mason in both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the final sequel, Mocking Jay.

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Johanna Mason is a loner who is said to have no family and friends back home in District 7. She tries to form an alliance with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) during the 75th Hunger Games, where the field is comprised of former winners. The character is known for her proficiency with an axe, and for her ability to manipulate others into trusting her.

Francis Lawrence is directing from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt. Production is slated to begin in late September.