The biggest piece of casting in the sequel to The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, has finally been officially confirmed. Sam Claflin, recently seen in Snow White and the Huntsman, will play Finnick Odair, the cocky, famous, good-looking former winner of the Games who not only forms a rocky alliance with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), but quickly grows into a much more important role.

The film, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, will be directed by Francis Lawrence. Shooting starts soon aimed at a November 22, 2013 release. Read more after the jump.

LionsGate made the previously rumored casting official on their Twitter page.

The role of Finnick is one that fans have been dream casting for months as he’s the third lead in the new movie, and has a role that will carry over into the story presented in the final two movies. (The third book in the series is being split into two films, as per the Twilight and Harry Potter film series.)

The character has a larger than life personality that, in the world of the book, is both charming and intimidating. People either love him, or can’t quite figure him out. Plus, he has a dark secret that plays a major part in Catching Fire. Finnick is a great character.

Claflin certainly looks the part and likely won this role over a slew of other up and coming, similarly-aged actors. Lawrence must see something in him. He should be solid. Here’s the official press release:

Lionsgate and the filmmakers of THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE are pleased to announce that Sam Claflin has been cast in the role of Finnick in the much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ worldwide smash hit novel Catching Fire. Charasmatic and clever, Finnick was a District 4 Hunger Games victor when he was fourteen.

After breaking out in his role as the romantic lead in last year’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, Claflin starred in the box office smash SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN playing Prince William alongside Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. He recently finished filming THE QUIET ONES opposite Jarred Harris, and MARY & MARTHA, in which he co-stars with Hilary Swank.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE will be directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the second in a trilogy that has sold more than 50 million books in print and digital in the U.S. alone.

Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE on November 22, 2013.

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