The Hunger Games' ravenous fanbase passionately scrutinized every casting development for the first film. Fans are again fervently debating potential casting choices as Lionsgate searches for an actor to play the character Finnick Odair in the movie's sequel Catching Fire. Finnick, the Adonis-like, charismatic, brash, and barely clothed former winner of the Hunger Games, starts off as heroine Katniss' main adversary, but ends up becoming her emotional confidant. According to E! Online, Taylor Kitsch, fresh off his double dose of box-office bombs with John Carter and Battleship, is up for the role, as is TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund and The Social Network's Armie Hammer. Which one of the actors is best suited for the part?
Finnick is supposed to have an arrogant charm, says Fallon Prinzvialli at MTV. As womanizer Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, Kitsch proved that he "knows how to gaze at a lady until she swoons." He's certainly studly, says Richard Lawson at The Atlantic, but too scruffy and unrefined for Finnick. "He can act sorta gruff, but it's a wounded gruff, it's not pompous or prissy." At the very least, says Keith Staskiewicz at Entertainment Weekly, Kitsch can identify with Finnick's ability to endure a traumatic experience. "Starring in John Carter and Battleship back-to-back" may be on par with a televised battle to the death.
Of these names, "Hedlund has got to be the winner," says Dodai Stewart at Jezebel. His "dreamy, golden god" aura is right in line with the book's description of Finnick's mesmerizing handsomeness. Raving about Hedlund's breakout performance as Dean Moriarty in the upcoming film On the Road, Owen Gleiberman writes at Entertainment Weekly: "[He] is as hunky as the young Brad Pitt, and like Pitt, a wily, change-up actor. He gives Dean eyes that glitter with a seductive enthusiasm that borders on being a little cracked." The biggest obstacle in his casting, however, is that he is far less known than his two rivals.
"Hammer has the most square-jaw look about him and that's exactly how I picture [Finnick]," says Germain Lussier at Slash Film. He did, after all, portray the debonair Prince Charming in Mirror Mirror. His past roles have exhibited "charm, humor, the ability to have fun on camera, and easy rapport with co-stars," all attributes adding to his being the ideal casting choice, says Lara Martin at MSN. But he has no edge, says Lawson. He's "such a lump of Fluff it's hard to believe they're seriously considering him for the role."
An unknown actor
One source affiliated with the studio says casting directors "may also be looking for unknowns a la Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise," says Marc Malkin at E! Online. That could be smart, says Andy Neuenschwander at Yidio. Stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson weren't household names when they were cast in the first film, and the movie was wildly successful, proving that Catching Fire doesn't need a known face as Finnick. "Then again, this is sequel territory, and you always go bigger in the sequel."