With filming scheduled to begin later this summer, casting rumors about the next Hunger Games film, Catching Fire, have reached fever pitch levels. Meaning, there a couple of random whispers about casting that we'd like to discuss with you today.
The first bit, perhaps the more credible one, comes from E! Entertainment Television's website. Gossip sorcerer Marc Malkin dishes that three dudes are up for the role of Finnick, the sexy Hunger Games winner turned Capitol concubine who is thrown into the Quarter Quell with Katniss and the rest of the gang. Finnick is supposed to be beautiful — like drop-dead, young Jude Law beautiful (oh if we just had a time machine). He's also got a meanness and an arrogance to him that are crucial to the character. So it's a tough role to cast. And seeing as they don't really have time to grow some perfect specimen in a lab, they'll have to pick from a collection of mere mortals. And so, according to this rumor anyway, they may have narrowed it down to: struggling leading man Taylor Kitsch, Tron robostud Garret Hedlund (at right), and Mormon football captain Armie Hammer. Ack! These are all wrong for different reasons.
Kitsch (at right) grew up in the wilds of Canada and is just a little too unrefined. He can act sorta gruff, but it's a wounded gruff, it's not pompous or prissy. Hedlund is a bit too scruffy and big and rough around the edges. Sure they could clean him up and slim him down and, I dunno, put some gold bronzer on him or something, but it still probably wouldn't feel right. And Armie Hammer is such a lump of Fluff that it's hard to believe they're sincerely considering him for the role. Come on, vague casting people! Get it together. These guys aren't right.
In the shadowy casting department's defense, though, no one is right. Suzanne Collins kind of wrote an uncastable character. Though the same could be said of Sweet Eddie Cullen in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight — a teen immortal creation apparently so spectacularly handsome that even Jacob has a secret crush on him — but they eventually found Robert Pattinson and they managed to sell him to all the girlies, so it can be done. Barring the Jude Law time machine idea (which someone should at least be looking into), we're gonna suggest Xavier Samuel, who may be a little young for the role, but has all that big-featured plushness that the almost androgynous Finnick (one gets the impression that he was a concubine for both men and women) should probably have. Plus he looks a little mean.
The other casting rumor comes from Lainey Gossip, which is saying that Glee's Dianna Agron (left), who plays (played?) sad, soulful teen queen Quinn on the show, is the top choice to play Finnick's tough-as-nails, kinda crazy fellow tribute Johanna. Which... eh. Agron is too feathery and not-that-good-at-acting-y to play this complicated character (I mean, as "complicated" as characters get in The Hunger Games). Johanna isn't quite as hard to cast as Finnick is maybe, but they should put a little more thought into it beyond "Let's get someone from Glee."
Kristen Bell has been lobbying hard (in a half-joking kind of way) for the part, but she's not right for it, love her as we might. The Mara sisters Kate and Rooney have been suggested, and after her crazy American Horror Story turn we could almost see Kate doing it. Rooney would work too, but she's maybe a little too alien or ethereal or something. Though speaking of alien, maybe someone like Summer Glau could work? She can do tough and crazy very well, as we've seen in the past. British starlet Imogen Poots has a good pretty-but-wild quality about her that could play well, but again she's maybe a little young.
Really they should probably pluck someone from out of absolute obscurity, go wander around acting schools and see what's happening. They can put a rush order on that lab-grown Finnick and find the next Jessica Chastain at Tisch or something for Johanna, and that's that. But, eh. With our luck they'll probably end up going with Chord Overstreet and Shenae Grimes.
And that's your YA sci-fi casting gripe from an adult for the day.