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‘Catching Fire’ Adds 2 More, Sasha Barrese Returns For ‘Hangover 3’ & ‘White House Down’ Secures Its First Lady

‘Catching Fire’ Adds 2 More, Sasha Barrese Returns For ‘Hangover 3’ & 'White House Down' Secures Its First Lady

As two of next year’s most-anticipated sequels approach their start dates, today two actresses have secured supporting parts in the franchises, while elsewhere Roland Emmerich and Jon Turtletaub find their leading ladies to head up their latest projects.

Director Francis Lawrence has hit the ground running when it comes to his “Hunger Games” sequel, ‘Catching Fire,’ and on the tail of adding Bruno Gunn (“Bad Teacher”) and Alan Ritchson to the cast, he’s now brought on Maria Howell as Seeder, a former victor from District 11, and Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere, a tribute District 1 competing in the Quarter Quell. Howell has appeared in “The Color Purple” and “The Blind Side,” and her role sees her dealing with Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) drastic actions from the first film, while becoming intertwined with the future of the Hunger Games as a result. Meanwhile, you may recognize Schlund from “Drop Dead Diva.” ‘Cathing Fire’ lands on November 22nd, 2013.

From a death-ridden dystopia to whatever decrepit pit Todd Phillips’ mind inhabits, “The Hangover 3” is set to begin production soon with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha all confirmed to reunite. One original cast member only very briefly featured in the sequel was Sasha Barrese as bride-to-be Tracy, last seen enduring the guys’ Las Vegas antics to marry Bartha in the first film, but it has been confirmed she’ll appear for the third go-around. More originals including Heather Graham and Ken Jeong have signed on already for the Craig Mazin-penned film (co-written with Phillips), so at least there’ll be some consistency as the Wolfpack head toward their seedy finale. “The Hangover 3” opens May 24th. [Variety]

If the first “The Hangover” film could be compared to a testosterone-driven “Armageddon,” then Jon Turtletaub’s upcoming Las Vegas comedy, “Last Vegas,” should naturally take the gentler, Tea Leoni-whisper of a “Deep Impact” spot. The film similarly follows a group of married guys who throw a bachelor party for their engaged friend, but find themselves fractured when two of them fall for the same lounge singer, who will be played by Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen. Featuring a cast including Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline, and Morgan Freeman, there’s a sleeper gem lying in wait there somewhere, but we’ll see if Turtletaub can follow through more than on his recent rather schlocky efforts (“National Treasure,” “The Sorceror’s Apprentice”). [Deadline]

Finally, as Roland Emmerich’s Presidential siege thriller “White House Down” grows more outlandishly wacky with every new plot detail, it’s obvious he’ll need a strong cast to carry the special-effects-laden narrative to success. Luckily, aside from Channing Tatum, he’s cast Jamie Foxx as the President who weathers an invasion by a paramilitary group (led by Jason Clarke), and also Garcelle Beauvais (“Flight”) as the First Lady by his side. This marks a reunion for Beauvais and Foxx, as she starred opposite him during “The Jamie Foxx Show” from 1996 – 2001, and as Emmerich finds more appealing ways to tear up the nation’s capital, hopefully the pair will be able to give the film a little emotional backbone too. [THR]

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