The wait is finally over: Lionsgate announced today that Sam Claflin has been cast as District 4 victor/deadly fisherman/everyone’s real Hunger Games dream guy over Gale and Peeta, Finnick Odair. We’ve known for weeks that Sam was a frontrunner, but it still comes as a shock because there were so many names attached to this, arguably the most important new role in Catching Fire, and no two fans seemed to agree on who was best equipped to step into Finnick’s, er, golden net.
Personally, I’m kinda bummed because I’d always envisioned Armie Hammer or Garrett Hedlund as Finnick. That said, Sam is a passionate actor who has truly committed to his roles in subpar movies (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman), so it’s encouraging to think that he’s going to get an incredibly meaty part in a celebrated book series.
But how does the fandom feel about this?
My impression from Twitter and Tumblr is that fans are most excited about Finnick finally getting cast, because it means that shooting can commence very soon and we’ll be that much closer to the release of Catching Fire. Regarding Sam himself, opinion is split: Plenty of people are raging about how he’s completely wrong for the role, others are grudgingly accepting the casting, some are genuinely psyched, and a few had never even heard of him. Overall, I’m really proud of Hunger Games fans for not throwing a tantrum that their dream guy didn’t make it. I especially love what the Fireside Chat podcast tweeted about any possible controversy:
Remember: If you’re upset about this casting decision, that’s OKAY! You’re allowed to be disappointed, mad, etc. Hopefully once we see the film, Sam Claflin will have us all convinced that he was the best choice for Finnick.
Obviously we have to trust in Lionsgate and Sam to do Finnick justice. Also, I can honestly say that he seems like a sweetheart. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for Snow White and the Huntsman a few months back, and he was just so effusive and easygoing. He talked about forming a bromance with co-star Chris Hemsworth and wasn’t shy about detailing an action scene where he was a complete klutz. He was personable and genuinely enthusiastic about his role, so I have no doubt that he’ll bring the same energy to Finnick.
Also, maybe this photo will help get you to envisioning Sam as Finnick:
It feels so weird that the biggest casting news is now behind us. Though there are a few parts yet to be cast, now we have to sit around waiting for on-set photos to get tweeted and for the latest funny anecdotes from Sam.