Lionsgate released an official statement following the tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead in his New York City apartment Sunday afternoon. Hoffman had been filming scenes as Plutarch Heavensbee in Francis Lawrence’s back-to-back Hunger Games sequels, Mockingjay, so he was in close contact with the studio.
Of his passing, Lionsgate officially states:
"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."
UPDATE: The following statement comes from Francis Lawrence, Suzanne Collins, Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik and Jennifer Lawrence on behalf of the cast and crew of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 & 2:
"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."
In terms of Hoffman's role in the final two Hunger Games films, here's what we know. Hoffman had finished working on Mockingjay, Part 1, and had seven days of filming left on Part 2. His loss is not expected to affect the previously announced release date for the Hunger Games films, which remain November 21, 2014 for Part 1 and November 20, 2015 for Part 2.
So it doesn't seem like Hoffman's role will have to be recast in the franchise, Not that the future of a movie franchise matters at all in the wake of Hoffman’s loss. But he was excellent in Catching Fire, and we knew that he had a lot to do in the next films. It sounds like we’ll be able to see what he brings to Suzanne Collins’ conclusion.
Sam Claflin, who plays Finnick Odair opposite Hoffman in the Hunger Games movies, was one of the first to Tweet in the actors memory, saying:
Expect to hear more outpouring of support and remembrance from Hollywood, the Hunger Games family and more as the shock and sadness of Hoffman’s sudden passing continue to wash over the entertainment community.