Fans of The Hunger Games franchise had the great pleasure of watching Philip Seymour Hoffman rip into the expanded character of Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire. In the wake of news of the actor’s death, Lionsgate released a statement this afternoon mourning the great loss: “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We’re very fortunate that he graced our Hunger Games family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”
Plutarch remains a pivotal figure in the two remaining sequels Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. Hoffman is said to have largely wrapped on the Part 1 shoot, and had seven remaining days of filming left for Part 2. How director Frances Lawrence and team will work around his tragic absence is still unknown. But their colleague and friend’s death won’t affect the films’ scheduled release dates of Nov. 21, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2015, respectively.
UPDATE: Jennifer Lawrence, Mockingjay director Francis Lawrence, author Suzanne Collins, and producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik released a joint statement following the news of Hoffman’s death. “Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now. Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking. Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”