Sam Claflin wanted to make District 4 and "Hunger Games" fans proud after he was cast as the gorgeous Finnick Odair in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling sequel “Catching Fire.” Since his body wasn’t always in his favor, he made sure to work hard to get his physique to where it needed to be to accurately portray the District 4 tribute in the third Quarter Quell.
He told Elle magazine about why he wasn’t exactly perfect for the part:
"[H]e’s tall, blond, tan, green eyes. And I sort of walked in with this stubbly face and very pale English skin, long brown hair, and, to be honest, out of shape. So I’m saying to myself, 'this is never going to happen,’” he explained to the magazine.
Luckily, Hollywood snapped its “magically” fingers and was able to turn Claflin from a regular guy into Finnick Odair, a fan favorite among HG enthusiasts.
“…Once I was cast, the alarms went off and the trainers were brought in. There were a lot of gym workouts, a lot of stunt training and fighting, hair dying, fake tans, the whole shebang.
I was a different man. I’m very happy with the results and can only hope that I achieve a semblance of that perfection that everyone is looking for."
Getting the part was not only good for Claflin’s body, but it also gave him a chance to prove his naysayers wrong. Not everyone was happy that the British actor was cast in the role and the 27-year-old even received death threats on Twitter. Nevertheless, he chose to push forward with the role than succumb to online bullying.
"It helped push me forward and motivate me to work harder,” Claflin told Elle. “I was reading so many stories about people being unhappy that I got the role—and don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit here Googling myself 24/7—but I think part of me was eager to learn what I needed to do in order to become the Finnick the fans needed me to be.”
“The negative comments made that easier to know what their expectations of me were,” he said, finding a silver lining to the undesirable remarks.
Director Francis Lawrence explained during an interview with MTV News that he chose Claflin because he could portray all facets of Odair’s character; whether it was being sexy and cocky or romantic and loyal; which are all characters the District 4 tribute exudes in “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay.”
“[Sam] is very athletic, which is great. He’s in great shape. He’s very charismatic. But I was also looking in the long term,” Lawrence told the news site. “There’s kind of a rouge-like quality to him in this book. And long term, he’s actually an emotional character and a very loyal character and a character who’s in love; a character who experienced quite a lot of sadness. And he was really able to tap into that, as well as being really charming and sexy and handsome as hell.”