Oh thank God.
As reported earlier this week, producing studio Lionsgate had apparently whittled the list of candidates for the crucial part down to Kitsch, Garrett Hedlund, and Armie Hammer. But in an e-mail to 24 Frames, Kitsch assured that it’s “not going to happen.” Whether this means the initial shortlist report was wrong from the start or Hedlund and Hammer are still in the running remains to be seen.
Frankly, it’s assuring to have Kitsch’s name crossed off the list, and not just because I felt he was absolutely terrible in John Carter. After reporting on the casting news earlier this week, I asked a friend more versed in Hunger Games lore than I to tell me about Finnick, and when we and another friend started chatting about casting, it seemed the character’s defining qualities lay in a sort of rugged and rebellious outsider streak.
The name we kept coming back to was Josh Holloway (Lost), who could play that sort of modern antihero archetype in his sleep but is probably too old to play a 24-year-old. And Kitsch, I hope we can all agree, is about as far away from Holloway (or similar actors) as one could get. In fact, when I reviewed John Carter way back in March, I noted that he was trying to give a Holloway-esque performance, and failed miserably because it just didn’t suit his style. If Finnick is meant to be a sort of compelling rogue, then Kitsch is not your guy.
But he’s out, so no need to worry. Of the shortlist, I still contend that Hedlund is most suited for the role, but even then, I wonder if there are better options out there.
Lionsgate better choose fast, because Catching Fire begins shooting this fall for a November 2013 release.