Catching Fire is coming out next weekend, which means you can soon look forward to over two hours of basic cable CGI while quibbling over casting choices under your breath. Goody! As you hate-watch the latest Hunger Games installment, however, just remember the toll it has taken on the psyche of Sam Claflin, the unfortunate dude who was cast as Finnick Odair and has had to listen for the last several months how he's too fat and ugly and bland to really do Finnick justice.
That's an exaggeration — probably nobody thinks Claflin is goblin-ugly (except goblins, who no doubt look at his blemish-free skin and even teeth and go, "YUCK, he doesn't even have a single boil and his eyes are the same size!"). People have, however, been more than willing to comment on how he falls short of Finnick's superhuman attractiveness, a major plot point in Catching Fire. Sure, Claflin's handsome, but is he Finnick handsome? Not according to Claflin, whose media tour has included a lot of self-inflicted criticism about his own body.
Speaking to Elle, Claflin admitted that he struggles with body image issues, and that being cast as the most attractive character in a movie did very little to help:
I'm seriously insecure about my body. I'm not someone who'll take my top off on the beach. I'll wear a vest. My wife [actress Laura Haddock] calls me manorexic, I do seriously have issues, I think. She thinks I'm getting so skinny, but I look at myself and think I'm getting fat. It's the way the Hollywood [ideal] is thrown at you. There's an element of wanting to be Ryan Gosling with a perfect six pack.'
...When I first found out I'd got Finnick I went on the internet to see people's reactions. And I'm on twitter so people were sending me their reactions. Some were more harsh than others.
"Manorexic" is a pretty terrible phrase to use, but the point is well-taken: men also face a ton of pressure to conform to a physical ideal derived from superhero movies and classical sculpture. And classical people didn't even wear pants, which tells you all you need to know about how much credence we should give their view of the human body (no credence).
Image via Getty, Paul Zimmerman