‘Catching Fire’ Casting Rumors: What About Sam Claflin?

As rumors of actor taking on Finnick Odair role continue to swirl, we weigh the pros and cons of casting the British actor.

With Jena Malone officially reaped as District 7 tribute Johanna Mason in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” we can now get back to the very important task of speculating who will fill the role of her fellow Quarter Quell contender Finnick Odair.

Fan casting for the part of Panem’s preeminent hunk has been feverish and ceaseless since before the second film was even greenlit, with names like Armie Hammer, Garrett Hedlund and Taylor Kitsch dominating the conversation. But an unlikely candidate has emerged from the pool of rippling pecs and hulking biceps, and that is Englishman Sam Claflin.

Earlier this month, numerous reports surfaced indicating that the actor had been offered the highly coveted role of the District 4 tribute. Claflin is probably best known for his roles in “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Though Lionsgate has yet to confirm the casting rumors, we figured it prudent to weigh the pros and cons of the 26-year-old’s potential casting. Without further ado:

Pro: His Heroics Are Well Documented
Both of Claflin’s high-profile big-screen roles have found him in some sort of savior role. In “Pirates,” he played missionary Philip Swift, who put his own life in danger to protect that of mermaid Syrena. In “Snow White,” Claflin portrayed Snow’s childhood friend William, who reappears in her life just in time to help her defeat evil Queen Ravenna. Though Finnick’s more altruistic tendencies might not be on full display at first, readers know he’s the sort you want around when the revolution comes. And perhaps Claflin is too.

Con: He’s Not Exactly the Surfer Guy Type
Finnick is described by author Suzanne Collins as a Greek god among men. He’s tall, tan, blond, muscled and has a pair of sea green eyes even the most seasoned of sailors would get lost in. None of which really describes Claflin (and we don’t mean that in a bad way). That being said, we’ve seen a bit of makeup and hair dye go a long way toward transforming a number of the film’s stars (we’re looking at you, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) into their dystopian counterparts, so it’s not inconceivable that Claflin would undergo a similar makeover. Let’s just hope he’s been putting plenty of time in at the gym the since we saw him in “Snow White.”

Pro and Con: He’s a Bit of an Unknown Entity
Claflin is a trained actor, having received a degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Yet, we haven’t had the opportunity to lay eyes on him too often on the big screen, which works both for and against him. It’s a pro in that we won’t have formed associations to any other character when we see him in “Catching Fire.” I mean, if Robert Pattinson were playing Finnick, all we’d see is Edward Cullen. However, not having many roles to judge him by means we really can’t say for certain whether he’s the ideal choice for the role. So we must lay our faith in the film’s casting directors. Do right by us, OK, guys?

What do you think about Sam Claflin potentially playing Finnick? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me @amymwilk with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!

Earlier “Hunger Games” columns:

» ‘Mockingjay’ Dissected: Enough Material For Two Movies?
» Comic-Con 2012: A Guide For “Hunger Games” Fans
» “Hunger Games”: The Week In Casting Rumors
» “Brave,” “Hunger Games” And The History Of Lady Archers
» “Catching Fire” In IMAX: Time To Embrace The Big, Big Screen?