Long before Hunger Games: Catching Fire began filming, the race was on in Hollywood to land a role in the second installment of the buzzed-about series based on Suzanne Collins‘ bestselling books.
When Sam Claflin went to try out for Finnick Odair, the handsome, charismatic and clever District 4 tribute, he thought the competition was too tough.
“Finnick is supposed to be this godlike creature,” he told Glamour magazine’s September 2013 issue. “I remember sitting in the audition room and this kid walked in. He was seriously one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen. And I was just, Nah, this is never going to happen.”
But happen it did. Claflin joins fellow new cast member Jena Malone – who willplay the brutal District 7 tribute, Johanna Mason – in appearing alongside Jennifer Lawrence‘s Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson‘s Peeta Mellark in the anticipated Hunger Games follow-up, to be directed by Francis Lawrence.
“I know they saw every single actress from here till Tuesday,” Malone said of the casting team’s search for their Johanna. “They wanted to find someone who didn’t just physicalize this character but could also scare people. I don’t know what I did – I guess I scared the hell out of them.”
Once Claflin, who quietly wed girlfriend Laura Haddock recently, landed the coveted role, he had to physically transform into the strong, sculpted Finnick.
“I had chicken and asparagus every day for three months,” he said, adding it made Haddock “quite happy. I was sending my mom photos of myself, really buff. [Laughs.] That sounds so wrong!”
Sucker Punch was always going to be one of 2011′s most controversial and divisive films – a film whose trailers were simultaneously astonishing, breathtaking and enticing as we saw Emily Browning lead a quintet of ferocious female warriors through a dazzling array of worlds that featured Nazis, bombs and dragons whilst also incorporating song-and-dance numbers, gorgeous visuals and everything adolescent fantasy under the sun.
Unfortunately a lot of the film’s criticisms came from the fact that it was, for a supposedly feminist film, somewhat misogynistic in the way that the women were dressed and acted as sexualised ‘dolls’ for the leering men of the audience to gape at. It wasn’t a box office or critical smash which is a shame given how much work went into the film and how, at least visually, it’s a dream to watch, particularly in the enthralling action sequences. People saw it as the poor cousin to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ with boobs, miniskirts and robots, basically.
I can honestly understand every criticism levelled at the film – it’s over-ambiguous and the fact that the three levels of the film don’t sync up properly is something that should have been reconcilled in production. I personally agree with the costuming complaints – while all the girls do look radiant and gorgeous, there’s no real sufficient need for them to be sporting battle gear that looks like it came from a police raid from a sex shop. Plus it’s far from protective but that’s just me quibbling.
However, many other film critics and film theorists have considered alternate interpretations and meanings to sucker punch – is the film an allegory for Hollywood? Is it about mental experimentation and the mysterious ‘monarch mind control’ urban legends? Quite simply, we just don’t know – writer and director Zack Synder has remained deliberately ambiguous with regards to any hidden meanings with the film, but after a rewatching of the film, I thought I’d give my own theory an airing, if only to find put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Henceforth, please regard that everything said after here is a theory, pure and simple.
For me, Sucker Punch is secretly a film about recovery from a mental trauma. And what follows are the four areas that prove as much…
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