Could ”fire be catching” finally now that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amanda Plummer have joined the cast of Catching Fire? A new report from Variety identifies three frontrunners for major victor roles in the second Hunger Games movie: Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Melissa Leo playing Mags, and Tony Shalhoub as Beetee.
Of course, this intel comes from anonymous sources, and hasn’t been confirmed by Lionsgate. So for now, we’re living in an alternate universe where these three could round out the major Quarter Quell tributes. You know, in the same universe where Jena Malone – who’s apparently been sitting on her offer for two weeks now — is Johanna Mason.
But let’s run with it until we hear otherwise! Actually, it sounds as if the Melissa Leo rumor died before it even began. That’s a shame. She’s a fantastic actress, and I have the same opinion regarding her joining the cast that I do about Jena—if it has to be a white actress, I’d like to see her in the role.
Now, on to the men. Tony Shalhoub would be perfect to play Beetee, the awkward victor nicknamed “Volts” by Johanna due to his affinity for electronics. It’s his ability to manipulate the Arena’s force field that proves a literal lifesaver in the Quarter Quell. With some actors, their prior roles actually strengthen their transition to entirely different roles, like when Bryan Cranston went from henpecked husband to Walter White. In other cases, however, you just want to see an actor play the same comedic timing and pathos in multiple roles, and that’s how I feel about Tony Shalhoub. I grew up knowing the man on Monk, so I can already envision him as Beetee.
And now, the big kahuna: Sam Claflin playing Finnick. I actually got the chance to interview Sam for Snow White and the Huntsman a few months ago. He was just lovely, and very down-to-earth when he told stories of his bromance with Chris Hemsworth and how he fell off his horse in a key scene. He’s one of those actors where I wouldn’t have put him forward, but once his name was brought up, I thought, “Naturally.” He’s got just enough of the good looks to play the more smarmy parts of Catching Fire, but I also believe he can bring it where it counts, namely the Annie Cresta scene.
We’ll keep you posted, just as we’re refreshing CatchingFireCasting.com every few minutes. In the meantime, tell us in the comments—would you welcome Sam as Finnick?