One of the major news pieces that have kept The Hunger Games fans on the edge of their seats is the notion of just who will play Finnick Odair in the upcoming sequel Catching Fire. With plenty of rumors, Robert Pattinson debunked himself out of contention, as did Taylor Kitsch, with various reports saying that Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund were in the run against a possible unknown actor. It had seemed as if Lionsgate would be aiming to possibly make a run for the pivotal character soon, and the A-list stars attached certainly seemed like the most possible candidates. Now, prepare for your hopes to be dashed, as one of the producers of the film has decided to set the record straight.
Talking with 24 Frames, producer Nina Jacobsen says that the supposed short list of Hedlund, Kitsch, and Hammer are “so not true”, and in terms of Finnick, Jacobsen says, “We’ve not narrowed things down by any means. It’s funny to see how things can take on a life of their own.”
But she does say fan input does affect their casting on a somewhat minor scale. “It means something that people can see [an actor] in that light, so you know [the actor] will be accepted by a lot of people, on the one hand. On the other hand, you have to kind of ignore it. You have to just sort of act like you’re sitting in a room and you want to just pick the person who gives the best audition and looks and feels most like the part.”
Training for the principal actors returning for the film is expected to start later this summer, with production set to commence shortly after. If the role of Finnick is among these actors that have to train, Lionsgate will have to get a move on fast in order to met the deadline so that the actor can train alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and more. Though Jacobsen declares the field is wide open for Finnick, Lionsgate obviously has some sort of secret short list in their arsenal, and a decision will likely come in the next month or so.
In the novels, Finnick is a 24 year old victor of The Hunger Games who won the 65th outing of the titular fight ot the death when he was 14. Due to a twist thanks to the next Hunger Games being a part of “a quarter quell”, the next fight has the misfortune of casting previous victors of the games into the annual bloodbath. Finnick is chosen along with volunteer 80 year old Mags for District 4, while Katniss and Peeta will return to the place where they showmanced it up in the last film.
Francis Lawrence will be taking over directorial duties on Catching Fire, which is aiming for a fall production start, and will be based off of a script from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3).
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set for a release on November 22nd, 2013.