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Jena Malone Chosen as Tribute for 'Catching Fire' (Exclusive)

The "Sucker Punch" actress is offered the hotly contested role.

Jena Malone Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

While many in Hollywood are cutting out early for the holidays, it’s reaping day for Jena Malone.

The Sucker Punch actress is in talks to play snide tribute Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, a key role that will be reprised in the trilogy’s third installment, Mockingjay.

Malone has the offer and is in early negotiations for the part, according to sources. The move nixes premature reports that pegged newbie actress-model Zoe Aggeliki as the front-runner to play the ax-wielding former Hunger Games winner from District 7, who aligns with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in their return to the arena for an all-star death match.

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The role requires a mix of wit and physicality. Although Mason enjoys some of the best one-liners in the Suzanne Collins novel, her first appearance finds her stripping out of her tribute costume in an effort to make Katniss uncomfortable.

The movie is heading for a late-September start with director Francis Lawrence.

Malone, repped by Gersh and Hirsch Wallerstein, most recently appeared in History’s hit miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.