Undoubtedly the most-anticipated movie of the year is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Fans and critics alike have high expectations for the sequel to one of last year’s biggest box office blockbusters. There are many reasons for this.
Primarily it is because Catching Fire is the best book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. The movie takes place just after the preceding movie where protagonists Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are declared the winners of the 74th Hunger Games. This rogue Olympics are a battle where one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are ‘reaped’ from each of the 12 districts of Panem to participate in an outdoor arena fight to the death until only one remains. The brutal contest is designed to showcase the superiority of the reigning Capitol over the poorer towns that it presides over. In Catching Fire, instead of serving as mentors in the next Games as has been the tradition, in an effort to punish Katniss for being the figurehead of a movement against the Capitol, President Snow punishes her by mandating that the contestants for the 75th Hunger Games be reaped from the existing pool of victors. As District 12’s only female victor, that means Katniss will be going back in and this time will be competing against older veterans who have all won before.
In addition to the dramatic plot twist, the movie finally starts to establish important characters outside of the film’s core duo of Katniss and Peeta. One of these new characters is the dashing Finnick Odair, captured perfectly by Sam Claflin.
Odair is the darling of the Capitol. The youngest victor of the Hunger Games, Finnick won the 65th Hunger Games at the tender age of 14. Known for his boyish good looks, Finnick was given many gifts during his time in the Games and one of these included a trident which is believed to be the most expensive gift ever afforded to a contestant during the Games. With his popularity matched only by his imposing physical presence, Finnick destroyed the competition in his first Games and is not only beloved in the Capitol but by Hunger Games fans around the world.
When it was announced that The Hunger Games would be adapted onto the big screen, one of the biggest question marks in Hollywood was the role of Finnick and who would secure the part. Rumored actors that were up for the role included Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Gosling. In the end, the role was won by Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).
I caught up with Claflin on the Catching Fire red carpet at the Canadian premiere in Toronto on November 19 at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. I asked him about the pressures that came with playing a character that was so beloved by so many and also asked if him if strong characters like the other victors allow for The Hunger Games to be about more than just the Katniss/Peeta/Gale triangle. Check out the video above!
Also, in case you missed it, here’s my review of The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire along with my red carpet interview with Jena Malone.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire