Hammer, Hedlund, and Kitsch. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, Venturelli/WireImage, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
With "Twilight Saga" star Robert Pattinson definitely out of the running for the role of Finnick Odair in the highly anticipated "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire," just who will get the part has been the subject of endless Internet speculation. Pattinson's loss is every young actor's gain, and Odair is a choice role in a high-profile franchise. The list of actors being considered is probably quite long.
However, now it seems that Lionsgate may have wittled the list down to just a few names, and could announce its choice as soon as this week. According to E! Online, the studio reportedly has three actors on the shortlist for the role of Odair: Canadian Taylor Kitsch ("Battleship") and American actors Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") and Garrett Hedlund ("TRON: Legacy").
In Suzanne Collins's novels, Odair is a former Hunger Games champ living the high life in the Capitol. Noted for his good looks and skill with a trident, Odair is plucked from his cushy life and forced to compete in the Quarter Quell, a special edition of the Hunger Games in which former winners are forced to battle to the death. Initially their foe, Odair becomes an ally to Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in their fight against the Capitol.
Kitsch, Hedlund, and Hammer are all talented rising stars in their own right. Any one of them would make a fine addition to the cast of "Catching Fire."
With the less-than-successful "John Carter" and "Battleship," Kitsch hasn't had much luck in his recent starring roles, and a prominent supporting role such as Odair is just what he needs. Odair's home district, District 4, is famed for its fisheries and is said to be located in what was once New England and the Canadian Maritimes. So, although Kitsch is from British Columbia, he does have some Canuck clout for the part. He'll be seen next in Oliver Stone's "Savages."
Hedlund is best known for his starring role as Sam Flynn in Disney's big-budget "TRON" sequel-reboot, but the actor earned praise at the Cannes Film Festival for his turn as free-spirit Dean Moriarity in Walter Salles's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." Hedlund has already demonstrated that he can handle action, so playing the District 4 champ wouldn't be much of a stretch.
Of the three actors, Hammer probably has the least name recognition. Despite nearly stealing the show playing both the Winklevoss twins in David Fincher's "The Social Network," his starring roles in "J. Edgar" and "Mirror, Mirror" mostly flew under the radar. Hammer has the physicality needed for the role of Odair, though the character's sense of humour might not jibe with Hammer's oft-serious acting style. The actor will soon be seen opposite Johnny Depp as the titular hero in Disney's "The Lone Ranger."
What do you think? Who would make the best Odair: Kitsch, Hedlund, or Hammer?
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is set for release on November 22, 2013, with the film shoot kicking off this summer.