One of the biggest pieces of the "Catching Fire" casting puzzle is falling into place. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Jena Malone is in early negotiations to play champion Johanna Mason in the "Hunger Games" sequel.

Mason is a key character in "Catching Fire" whose cutting comments and aggressive personality don't always rub fellow champ Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) the right way. The role is one of the most important casting decisions new director Francis Lawrence has to make, along with Plutarch Heavensbee and Finnick Odair. (Both roles are still to be determined, though there have been reports Philip Seymour Hoffman was offered the part of Plutarch.)

Malone most recently appeared on the big screen in "Sucker Punch" and the small screen in "Hatfields & McCoys." She has a history in the sci-fi genre including an early role as a young Jodie Foster in "Contact" and a memorable turn as the love interest to "Donnie Darko."

If Malone doesn't fit "Hunger Games" fans ideal for Johanna, they've got a long time to get used to it. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" isn't due for release until November 22, 2013.