This past week one of the biggest events in the film industry went down, and no– I don’t mean the casting of certain characters in Catching Fire, I’m talking about The Toronto Film Festival. Several people involved in The Hunger Games made appearances, including our dear, wonderful, quirky Katniss aka, Jennifer Lawrence, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sadly Woody Harrelson ended up canceling his trip to Canada in support for his film Seven Psychopaths, but he would have made three on the list of Hunger Games cast members participating in the festival. Flying under seemingly everyone’s radar though (or maybe not), was the presence of one of the fandom’s hopeful Finnicks, Mr. Garrett Hedlund. Hedlund as we all should know by now was a top fan favorite for the role, and apparently the rumors were true, he was contacted by Lionsgate about it– however the information that he actually auditioned seems to have come up to be false. In a very short excerpt from an interview Hedlund did with Josh Horowitz of MTV News, he was asked point-blank about the rumors, and subsequently he answered in his normal, quiet, slightly haltingly paced fashion. “They did approach me,” he said, “but I was working on this film at the time. We shot the whole film in 23 days and I was really… immersed in it. I couldn’t get around…” and then he gets out that he hasn’t been able to read anything in a long time, because he’s been so busy.
All right, considering this is an editorial site, I think it’s been pretty obvious how I felt about the idea of Mr. Hedlund taking on the role of Finnick? I would not have been happy, because for me he’s always been lacking a few key factors for what I will always consider to be a must for an actor who involves them selves with a franchise. And, one of those factors, everyone– is presence. Hedlund, at least for me doesn’t have one, or he does– just not an appropriate one for a franchise the size and breadth The Hunger Games should have. Now, watch me give him a compliment inside of also kind of putting him down! Hedlund, when he’s being himself reminds me of James Dean. Yep, Jimmy Dean, the fated, perpetual 25 year-old, and also one of the actors to come out of Hollywood of the 1950s who changed acting on screen as we know it today. James Dean was an awkward, shy kid, he was nervous, a little twitchy, but when he was on screen, that unease worked, and it made people notice him. Just watch his first scene in Giant, he has maybe less than a handful of lines, but your eyes stay on him. Hedlund has a similar quality to his personality, however his awkwardness does not tend to draw you in. An other factor, which is entirely my own opinion, is that Hedlund has yet to show me that he’s a genuinely good actor. Maybe that’s because almost all the films he’s been in are projects that did little to spark my interest, but I did see a number of them in order to be well informed on what he could have brought to the role of Finnick, and my opinion has been formed where it comes to his acting prowess– he’s decent, but he’s not what I’d deem noteworthy. It comes down to this, when you watch an interview with him, and then an interview with who did take the role of Finnick, the competition is nil. In other words, Sam Claflin was the right choice, at least from where I’m sitting. Also, if you compare acting performances of the two, one of them comes up on top to me as well, and that’s obviously Sam. Sam’s got it, okay? And, when I say it, I mean he has presence, he has a sharp personality, and on top of that he’s more than a decent actor, he’s a good actor. I’ve said it before, the role of Finnick needed someone who can handle all aspects the role requires, including the acting chops, and the emotional fortitude to portray the darker sides of Finnick’s character, but one huge part of the role is the ability to do press (sell, sell, sell!), and do it well. Sam interacting with the press is a breath of fresh air, he’s quippy, he’s clever, he’s fun, and in my opinion– because all of this is just that, he’s more than capable of taking on the dark, the light portions of Finnick. Hedlund, to me, in all the roles I’ve seen of his, he was very one note, which doesn’t cut it for me– at all. I’m glad we got Sam, guys– really really glad.
Now I dread the interviews that’ll come next summer when one of the other fan favorites is doing press for his own film– ’cause Finnick will come up, I can feel it in my bones.
Them There Eyes