This latest bit of Catching Fire casting intel might make all the Sam Claflin detractors more likely to appreciate the actor who eventually got the role of District 4 dreamboat Finnick Odair. At the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, MTV News caught up with Garrett Hedlund, who was one of the frontrunners for the trident-wielding Finnick and then suddenly wasn’t once Sam was cast. I remember being really confused at the time, because not only was Garrett my personal favorite for the role, objectively he looked and acted so much like Finnick that it seemed insane that he wouldn’t take the part.
It turns out that Lionsgate thought the same! Garrett admitted that yes, he was approached about playing Finnick, but he ultimately turned down the studio. What’s interesting is how Garrett stumbles through his answer, hence all the brackets. You can watch the video here, but you won’t get anything beyond the text below.
“They did [approach me]. But I was working on this film at the time. We shot the whole film in 23 days and I was really immersed in it. I couldn’t get around [to reading the Hunger Games novels]. Everybody around me is flipping out about the books, and I didn’t really have the time to sit down lately to read any book, not just Hunger Games. But I’ve got a couple [projects] on my plate that I’m looking forward to reading now.”
Garrett seems truly uncomfortable when responding, probably because he’s aware that he could piss off a bunch of Hunger Games fans by admitting that he didn’t take the time or effort to read the books. Note how quickly he defends himself by saying that he’s got a bunch of projects on his plate. (According to IMDb, those are Lullaby opposite Amy Adams and Inside Llewyn Davis with Carey Mulligan.)
Here’s what I think is happening: Garrett was never really interested in playing the role. Although his name was linked to it early on, he wasn’t one of the actors actively expressing his interest. It’s tough to make the excuse that he didn’t read the book, because all he’d have to do at the moment is get through Catching Fire, and it’s an easy read. (You can finish these in a week, tops!) Or he could’ve found out everything he needed to about Finnick through the fan wikis and Tumblr. I think Garrett didn’t want to lock himself into the role for the next two years.
And hey, I get that. We want our Finnick to be someone who really wants the role—like Sam, who knew what the major Hunger Games fansites were and took the time to thank them over Twitter. No hard feelings, Garrett, we’re still psyched to see you in On the Road.
[via Down With The Capitol]
Photo: Ian Wilson/WENN.com