The film adaptation of The Hunger Games is currently redefining our simple human notions of success. It earned more in a single weekend than any movie not starring Harry Potter or Batman. It attracted audiences from every demographic, and based on exit polls, those audiences liked what they saw. At this point, the only question is whether there will be two sequels or three sequels. (And if they do have four films, which book do they split up? The first half of Catching Fire is basically a Panem travelogue. Mockingjay is so magnificently depressing that the notion of turning the book into two movies borders on cultural masochism.) But the most exciting aspect of Games’ success, for me, is that some of the intriguing characters Suzanne Collins introduces in the latter books will now be brought to life on screen. Which brings me to today’s big question: Who do you think should play Finnick Odair, the glamorous trident-carrying Hunger Games victor?
Finnick is incredibly handsome. Really, he’s practically a joke of physical perfection – in Catching Fire, Collins describes him as a muscular, tan, bronze-haired dude with sea green eyes. So he’s either a merman or an Australian. But unlike Australians, Finnick’s beauty masks a bleak inner life: After winning his Hunger Games, he makes a life for himself as a high-class prostitute in the Capitol. It’s a tricky doucheboat-with-a-heart-of-gold role, requiring an actor who can be threatening, but also melancholy, but who can also pull off Finnick’s Caligula-worthy “Golden Net” outfit, which seems destined to test Catching Fire’s PG-13 rating more than any kid-killing montage.
In Catching Fire, Finnick is about 24. But since the teenage Katniss and Peeta are played by Jennifer Lawrence (21) and Josh Hutcherson (19), it seems likely that Lionsgate would be willing to stretch the age range into the late ’20s or early ’30s. It seems to me that there’s one actor in Hollywood that’d be perfect for the role…but unfortunately, Chris Hemsworth happens to be the older brother of Liam, and it’s a well-known fact that the space-time continuum will implode if two Hemsworths appear in the same movie together. Ryan Gosling would be good, but it’s hard to see him taking a supporting role in a franchise picture. That’s also true of Channing Tatum – unfortunate, since Tatum has lately been refining a Finnick-esque mixture of handsome-man bravado and sly humor.
More likely, the makers of Catching Fire will go for lesser-known (and cheaper) potential Finnicks. Twilight costar Kellan Lutz and I Am Number Four escapee Alex Pettyfer both have the ripped underwear-model look down, although its unclear if either actor has the gravitas to pull off Finnick’s darker edges. If they wanted to play Finnick as a slightly older character, Luke Evans seems like he could play both Finnick’s caddish and sensitive sides. With a featured role in the upcoming Hobbit duology, a big role in the Hunger Games sequels could turn Evans into a megastar. EW’s Tanner Stransky suggested throwing Grant Gustin from Glee into the mix.
All good choices, but if you ask me, the best pick for Finnick is another TV actor – Ryan Kwanten, Jason Stackhouse on True Blood. He’s a bit older than book-Finnick, but he can do the rakish-soulful thing pretty well. Anyhow, everyone in Hollywood is older than we think, so don’t hold that against him. Stop being so ageist towards old people, weirdo!
Readers, who’s your pick for Finnick? Vote in the poll below, and be sure to tell us the totally obvious choice that we completely forgot about in the comments.
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