Central casting has taken wallops from both sides over their various ethnic interpretations of characters from Suzanne Collins' YA dystopian trilogy as they're being converted to the big screen (note: very, very successfully). To be fair, this is complicated particularly because the futuristic setting suggests that the general population is mixed-race; many characters are described as having "dusky" or "olive" skin, and we've even published a comprehensive character-by-character racial breakdown to clear up the confusion.
The first big shitstorm was over the handpicking of stacked blonde Jennifer Lawrence to transform into dark-complexioned protagonist Katniss Everdeen. The second was the casting of a black child actress named Amandla Stenberg as the ill-fated 11-year-old tribute Rue. Who was pissed about that one? Um, racists!
The character of Finnick Odair doesn't appear until the second two books/movies, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and is described as an extremely handsome man with "tan skin" (also referred to as "golden"), "bronze-colored hair" and "incredible" sea-green eyes. A Hunger Games fan started campaigning for Cabin In The Woods and Grey's Anatomy actor Jesse Williams to get the part, launching a Jesse for Finnick platform on Tumblr and Twitter, but she hardly expected to receive the kind of response she got from the community—which, although only a few people are short-sighted enough to come right out and say it on message boards like this one, seems to be an overwhelming knee-jerk response of "FINNICK IS WHITE."
I think that Jesse Wiliams just won't work. Finnick Odair in my eyes is Tall, young, disheveled medium long luscious Golden blonde hair, ocean blue colored eyes, he has a glowing tan, washboard abs, and wears almost no clothes, at the same times carries a trident. That is the guy i wan't to see as Finnick. For example PERFECT GUY is Ian Somerhalder. Color him blonde and throw in some contacts and wala you have Finnick Odair!
I'm sorry but unless I read the wrong book, isn't Finnick Caucasian? By tanned skin Collins meant his skin was darkened from the sun (swimming/fishing) not that he is of a darker skin ethnicity... Don't get me wrong, this guy is great just completely wrong for this role.
When alternative suggestions are provided, they include Caucasian actors Somerhalder, Chace Crawford and Taylor Kitsch (but even then, many people simply say "No" or "No way" or "He's wrong" — because not even white boys are good enough?). The moderator of the Tumblr site tells us that many fans want to see a Robert Pattinson-type in the role, and they don't think a black actor can accurately convey Finnick's supposed hotness. Because black guys can't be hot? (Clearly these people have never seen Idris Elba. Or Jesse Williams, for that matter.) She also says that one commenter "even tried to say that being tan (one of the descriptions of Finnick) is only for white people because black people are black already."
Meanwhile, what does Williams himself have to say about all this? He told E! Online:
I didn't know what the heck a Finnick was when I was getting a lot of the questions about it. People are creative about that kind of stuff, and now I'll try to figure out if that's something that's interesting to me.
Haha, come on, dude. Come ON. You're shitting yourself trying to get this part. Just admit it. Oh, you're gonna keep playing cool? Fine. When you look as good as you do, you can play it however you want.