Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Would Two Tickets For... Do?: Casting "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Andrew: Hello readers! So a couple of months ago Sarah and I tried out a new column on our blog called What Would Two Tickets For... Do? where in our inaugural post we talked/ranted exclusively on what we would have done differently had we made Battlship. The reaction was tepid at best, but we enjoyed writing it and haven't had a real chance to bring the column back.....until now.

This week in movie news we all finally found out one of the biggest casting questions of the year: who would be playing Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Turns out Sam Clalfin (Snow White and the Hunstman) nabbed the coveted role, and with that choice Lionsgate gave us the necessary fuel to do another WWTTFD?

Sam Claflin, who's star is a bit on the rise with starring
role in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
and Snow White & The Huntsman, has
been cast in the coveted role of Finnick Odair.
He is NOT, however, who we would have chosen.

So Sarah, we're going to go down a brief list of who has been cast for pivotal roles in Catching Fire, whether we agree with them or not, and who we would have cast instead, yes? Which role should we start with?

Sarah: Well, let's go ahead and start with Finnick. Sam Claflin is a good looking guy that is built like I would think that Finnick should be. However, I think his acting is sub-par. When he acted opposite of Kristen Stewart I had a hard time figuring out which one was the more boring actor to watch. And that is where I think he will fail at this role. Finnick needs to be a presence. Fun but tough, with an air of cockiness. This role would have been much better played by Ryan Kwanten from True Blood.


Sarah's choice for Finnick Odair: Ryan Kwanten of True Blood fame.
 Look at that hair! It's exactly what Finnick's should look like.

A: I 100% agree with you. Sure Claflin LOOKS the part, but he doesn't exude the swagger and cockiness that I picture from Finnick. Plus, as readers of the books might agree with me, Finnick also needs to have SOME bit of a softer side and I don't see that from Claflin.
When the rumors about who was going to play Finnick were first bouncing around we totally thought Kwanten should be the guy. Just from his job playing Jason Stackhouse on True Blood we know he's good-looking, muscular, has a cockiness about him but can also play vulnerable. But he might be too short for the role.

So I'm going to go with a guy I thought from the beginning would have been perfect, and that's Jonathan Groff, who plays Jesse St. James on Glee. When I read the book he was the first guy who popped into my head. He looks the part and his Jesse St. James certainly has the attitude necessary to play the part. He'd also fit right in with being a lesser known, not a big name star who would cost a lot of money to play the role.

Andrew's choice for Finnick Odair: Jonathan Groff, who plays
Jesse St. James on Glee. (Thought to be honest, looking for
a good enough pic is making him side more with Sarah again.)

S: Hmmm interesting choice. I'm not a huge fan of his acting, but then again I have never seen him in anything other than Glee
Ok, so next we have Johanna Mason, a Hunger Games victor hailing from District 7 who posed as a weakling so she flew under the radar until she demonstrated a wicked ability to murder. She aligns herself with Peeta and Katniss and is strong ally throughout the story.

Johanna is going to be played by Jena Malone, who has appeared in movies like Pride & Prejudice (2005), The Ruins and Sucker Punch. I actually really like her for this role. Although she has appeared in a lot of things, she's not a Hollywood A-lister. She also has the ability to appear weak and then pretty malicious like she did in Pride & Prejudice.

Jena Malone (Pride & Prejudice) has been cast as Johanna
Mason, a past Hunger Games winner from District 7.
She's also who Sarah would have cast in the role.

Do you think that she will be a good fit for this role?

A: I really hadn't thought about Malone for the role until her name popped up as the front-runner. I think she'll do a good job with it, I can totally see her as the ass-kicking Johanna Mason. But I would not have cast her in the role. I think she's just a little too old for my taste and she doesn't exude the weakness that gave her such an advantage in her Games.

I would have gone with someone a bit younger, and in that vein I always kind of pictured Olivia Thirlby (Juno). Because Mason is supposed to kind of have short, spiky hair and a touch thin (if I remember correctly), so she would look more vulnerable while being able to kick some butt.

Andrew's choice for Johanna Mason: Olivia Thirlby ,
 who will be starring in the upcoming
Dredd 3D

S: You know who might also have played a good Johanna would be Chloe Grace- Moretz. She may be a little young, but her acting would be spot-on for this role.

A: I like where your head is at with the kind of ferocity she's shown in films like Kick-Ass and Let Me In, but yeah I think she's a little too young.

Ok, so let's move on to Wiress, one of the two older Tributes from District 3 (along with Beetee, whom we'll get to later) who are both supposed to be good with electronics. Amanda Plummer has been cast in the role, and honestly I don't remember her from anything other than playing Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction. (And holy crap she's looking way older now.)

I know who I have in mind, but I want to hear who you would have cast first.

Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) has been cast as Wiress, one of the older
 tributes from District 3. Sarah thinks she's a great choice for the role.

S: Oh my gosh, no! Amanda Plummer is PERFECT for this role. She played a similar character to Wiress in a Law & Order episode that you have to see. I would never have thought of her if she hadn't been cast, but I’m so glad that they found her for this. 
If it wasn't for her I would have thought of maybe a much bigger name, like Helena Bonham Carter. I actually kind of like the idea that all of the younger actors are the ones that are little known and the older actors are the Hollywood hotties.

A: Oh wow, such strong conviction! I like it, I'll have to take your word for that then! We'll have to pull that particular episode up on Netflix so you can show me.
Probably thanks to the Harry Potter movies, or more specifically thanks to her recent turn in season four of True Blood, but I pictured Fiona Shaw. She's a touch older, has that world-weary sort of experience I can see in her eyes.....I guess that's just who I pictured.

Andrew's choice for Wiress: Fiona Shaw, who made quite
 the impression on him during her turn in season 4 of True Blood

S: Ooo that's a good one too! Well let’s move on to Beetee, the other District 3 Tribute for the 75th Hunger Games. He is really good with wires and electronics. He has been rumored to be played by Tony Shalhoub (a.k.a. Monk). I actually think this is pretty brilliant casting if it ends up being true. What do you think?

A: Shalhoub as Beetee is one of the two new cast members that I think fits perfectly for the role. I didn't really have anyone in particular in mind when the rumors were flying - I guess someone shorter and stockier maybe - but when Shalhoub's name popped up it was like a light bulb turning on. Inspired casting choice.

Tony Shalhoub (Monk) is still the rumored front-runner to play Beetee,
 the other older tribute from District 3. Andrew thinks he's the perfect choice.

Can you think of anyone else who might have worked? Because I can't.

S: Shorter and stockier? Really? I would have picked someone skinnier. If I had to change it I would pick someone a little older and frailer such as David Bradley (Harry Potter). 

Sarah's choice for Beetee: David Bradley, best known to our
generation as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films,
though recently has a good role in HBO's Game of Thrones.

Last but not least, a character I think will be talked about a lot is Plutarch Heavensbee, played by none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote). I gotta be honest, he wasn't the most memorable character to me, so by putting Hoffman in the role I think they're trying to make him more memorable.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who stars in the upcoming The Master,
has been cast as Head Gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee. Of all the
casting decisions for Catching Fire, he's the only one
we both think is perfect.

A: You didn't think Plutarch was memorable? He's a pretty pivotal role in the series so I think they definitely had to go with a relative big name. And they hit the ball out of the park with this one. I honestly couldn't have thought of anyone better for the part. It had to be someone who conveys some gravitas because Plutarch is the Head Gamesmaker and thus needs to exude a bit of menace but be a bit chubby and charming at the same time. PSH totally pulls that off. I know it sounds lame to not be able to come up with another name to perfectly fit that role, but that's what it is.

S: He’s the perfect choice, certainly. Ok readers! So these are just our thoughts on who we would have cast in the new roles for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But we’d love to hear who YOU think should have been cast, so let us know what you think in the comments!


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  2. I agree with pretty much everything you've said here (besides the guy from Glee since I don't watch that so I have no clue who he is). I'm very unhappy with the casting for Finnick. Claflin isn't unattractive by any means but Finnick is supposed to exude handsomeness. I love the idea of Kwanten! Happy to find some other True Blood fans out there (I know it's popular but I tend to find more people who dislike it or are ex-fans). I also heard Ian Somerhalder's name thrown out for this role. He might be a bit too old but he's definitely gorgeous. I could also see Taylor Kitsch maybe.

    I'm okay with Jena Malone as Johanna but just because I like her and wish she'd get more work. I don't think I'd ever think of her on my own. I really was hoping Kristen Bell might be considered since she was campaigning hardcore for it and I love her, but she's also probably too old. I really like the idea of Thirlby in the role though. I think that a younger Eliza Dushku might have been my ideal casting choice though.

    I didn't really give much thought into the older characters but I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Plutarch!

    Now I just wonder who they will cast for Annie and Coin for Mockingjay...

    1. Kwanten is definitely the choice we would have gone with in a perfect world. We agree, it's not that Claflin isn't good looking. He's just not...Finnick.

      Kristen Bell would have been a great choice, too, as would have Dushku. The problem always seems to be that we think of Johanna as being younger looking than some actresses who would be good to play her. Mia Wasikowska was a name rumored for the role for a while and she would have been a good fit, too, we think.

      In a perfect world, Coin would HAVE to be Judi Dench, no? But highly doubtful she's available to do it, or that her health would permit it. Though that's a great question!

    2. I could possibly see Coin as Helen Mirren actually. I've heard a lot of fans say they would like to see Zooey Deschanel as Annie but that seems a little too on the nose (loopy Zooey as loopy Annie).

    3. Helen Mirren would be a GREAT choice for Coin! And yeah, Zooey is probably too....Zooey for the role of Annie. That will probably go to a relative nobody we'd imagine.