So it’s finally started. After many months of casting (and some characters still left to be filled), filming has begun in Atlanta, Georgia. According to EW and Huffington Post, Lionsgate announced that production started on Monday. The cast and crew will head to Hawaii after shooting wraps in Atlanta, and production will finish up in December.

Woody Harrelson will reprise his role as the lovable drunk, Haymitch. He talked to CBS This Morning about the two shooting locations. “The part I’m not in is going to be shot in Hawaii, which happens to be where I live. It’s one of life’s ironies.”

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Of course the two leads, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, will return, along with Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson. New cast additions are plentiful and include Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amanda Plummer and Sam Claflin. However, Gary Ross, former director of The Hunger Games, will not direct the sequel. Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, I am Legend) has taken his place.

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For those who haven’t cracked open the sequel yet and discovered the plot, it seems that Lionsgate is being rather coy about spoiling any details — especially the mysterious Quarter Quell. The little blurb about Catching Fire is nothing more than a summary of how the first film ended. I’ve read the books, but I’m sure those who haven’t are thoroughly teased by now. 

This announcement means we’re one more step towards seeing the sequel in theaters. What’s the release date? Don’t stroke out. Deep breaths — Nov. 22, 2013. A year and some months away from now. Where will you be in Nov. of 2013?

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Becca Ritchie