"Snow White and the Huntsman" actor Sam Claflin will play Finnick Odair in the adventure film "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," Lionsgate announced on Wednesday, August 22, following weeks of speculation.
Variety magazine had reported in mid-July that the 26-year-old British actor was chosen for the coveted role in the film, the follow-up to this year's blockbuster "The Hunger Games," which starred Jennifer Lawrence and made more than $684 million worldwide since its March release.
"Lionsgate and the filmmakers of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' are pleased to announce that Sam Claflin has been cast in the role of Finnick in the much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' worldwide smash hit novel 'Catching Fire,' the production company and distributor said in a press release. "Charasmatic and clever, Finnick was a District 4 Hunger Games victor when he was 14."
"The Hunger Games" and its sequels are based on a popular book trilogy by Collins. The first installment introduced the event, which saw children and teenagers forced to fight to the death in an arena placed in the wilderness. The "Catching Fire" is the second one and sees previous winners of The Hunger Games, including adults, return for a rematch. The movie is set for release on Nov. 22, 2013.
Finnick Odair was the victor of the 65th Hunger Games when he was 14 years old. He was unprecedentedly popular among the Capital thanks to his physical skills and extraordinary beauty. During his first round in the Hunger Games arena, he was given many gifts by suitors from the Capital, which helped in his survival.
Odair also appears in the third book, "Mockingjay." It was recently revealed that the final book would be split into two separate films.
Claflin was last seen on the big screen as William, a Prince Charming-type character, opposite Kristen Stewart in "Snow White and the Huntsman." He also appeared in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and in the TV mini-series, "The Pillars of the Earth."
Previously confirmed new cast members of "Catching Fire" include Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavenbee, Amanda Plummer as the character Wiress, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, Lynn Cohen as Mags, Meta Golding as Enobaria, Bruno Gunn as Brutus and Alan Ritchson as Gloss. Francis Lawrence was also confirmed as the director of "Catching Fire."
Those rumored to be in talks for Claflin's role included Garrett Hedlund, Armie Hammer, Taylor Kitsch, Hunter Parrish and Alex Pettyfer. "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson and "90210" star Trevor Donovan both denied rumors of their casting in the role.