The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin Reflects On Why ‘Finnick Deserved Better’ And One Thing He Would Change About His Performance

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair in Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Since it has been over a decade since The Hunger Games movies began and the franchise is set to continue this fall with the prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, one of the franchise's stars/fan-favorite Sam Claflin recently reflected on his time as Finnick Odair. The actor shared it feels like it just happened “yesterday,” but there is a thing or two he’d change about his iconic role if he could. 

Claflin regarded his Hunger Games experience as an “absolute dream” when recently speaking about his debut in the franchise in Catching Fire, which turns 10 later this year. The actor does recall receiving backlash from fans of the franchise when he was first cast, as they thought he was “so wrong” for the part, which led to him deiding he was going to “prove” them all wrong. When thinking back to the role, Claflin said this: 

At the time, I was shitting myself — the first topless scene I’ve ever done, you know? Oh, my God. Also, I didn’t have an accent coach in ‘Hunger Games,’ and I fucking needed one. I look back and listen to myself like, ‘God, that’s terrible.’ I feel a little more confident in myself and comfortable in myself. Especially with a part like Finnick, where he just exudes charisma.

In his interview with Variety, Sam Claflin shared that he counted himself lucky that he wasn’t playing a role as large as Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mellark or Liam Hemsworth’s Gale Hawthorne because there wasn’t “as much pressure” on him at the time. 

Still, The Hunger Games franchise seriously had numerous supporting actors who became crazy famous after their roles in the book adaptations. Lucky for Claflin, he’d been in major movies before this, like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Snow White and the Huntsman, but Finnick was the first high-profile character he played with an established fanbase. When it comes to thinking back to the character’s journey in the film, Claflin said this:  

I think Finnick deserved better. But I think he did the right thing. He’s a good guy, sacrificing himself for the cause.

During the ending of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Finnick Odair is the first major casualty of the movie while Katniss and a crew of rebels were seeking to take down President Snow. It’s a sad moment in the film, especially because Finnick is such a likable and beloved character. It’s too bad he doesn’t get a happy ending, especially since his wife Annie Cresta remains alive and pregnant with their child. Yeah… those movies got pretty dark

While Claflin will not return this time around given it's a prequel, you can mark your calendars for the next Hunger Games movie hitting theaters on November 17, 2023. Rachel Zegler, Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage star among the stacked Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cast.  

Sam Claflin is about to play another literary character for the Amazon Prime series Daisy Jones & the Six. The actor appears as a fictional rock star from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel of the same name. The upcoming book adaptation begins streaming on March 3. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.