By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com August 22, 2012 at 12:30PM
It's been one of the most sought-after roles in recent Hollywood casting history, one that names like Armie Hammer, Taylor Kitsch, Garret Hedlund and even Robert Pattinson were (mostly erroneously) linked to. And after several months, it's finally been filled, with Lionsgate announcing via a press release that Sam Claflin, the 26-year-old British actor who's so far featured in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Snow White and the Huntsman," has officially signed on to play Finnick Odair in hotly anticipated sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."
The role, a fan favorite, is a former champion of the Hunger Games who *spoiler* is forced to compete alongside Katniss and Peeta in a 'Quarter Quell' -- an occasional sort of 'greatest hits' battle pitting past champions against each other. *end spoiler* Claflin's been linked to the role for a little while now, and seems to have mostly won over the approval of fans. We have to say, having seen some of Claflin's drama school performances years back, he's rather better than some of the material he's been given so far, so having a slightly meatier role than 'insipid blockbuster love interest' could be a big deal for him.
Claflin joins the original cast, plus fellow new additions Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Tony Shalhoub, Amanda Plummer, and about a dozen more that no one's ever heard of. Francis Lawrence is directing, and the film will hit theaters on November 15th, 2013. What do you think of the casting? Are you happy with Claflin, or was there someone else you'd rather have seen in the role? Let us know below.