How ‘Catching Fire’ Could Set Taylor Kitsch’s Career Ablaze

With 'Battleship' sinking at the box office, the role of Finnick Odair could serve as the actor's life raft.
By Amy Wilkinson

Taylor Kitsch
Photo: Getty Images

Forget those Robert Pattinson rumors. I have a winning first-round draft pick for Adonis-like District 4 tribute Finnick Odair: former "Friday Night Lights" star Taylor Kitsch.

To be sure, Kitsch's name isn't a new one in the frenzied speculation over who should play the "Catching Fire" hunk. For months, he's been mentioned in the same breath as fan favorites like Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund, but with the less-than-stellar performance of "Battleship," Kitsch needs one in the win column, and "The Hunger Games" sequel could be it.

When the MTV Movies staff sat down at the end of the year to compile our 2012 wish list, my deepest desire was to see the erstwhile Tim Riggins make good on the big screen. He's had a couple opportunities so far, starting with Disney's sci-fi adventure "John Carter." The adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel reportedly cost the studio $350 million to produce, but opened to a disappointing $30.6 million domestically. Likewise, last weekend's board-game-inspired actioner fell $15 million short of box-office experts' modest $40 million projections.

Kitsch has one more 2012 film yet to bow — the Oliver Stone-directed "Savages" — but he needs a high-profile role in a box-office barnburner to really introduce him to the masses and secure a spot as a go-to leading man. Hence, Finnick Odair.

I'll be the first to admit Kitsch doesn't perfectly fit my mental image of the trident-wielding tribute; he isn't blond, nor is he very tall (though have you seen him without a shirt on?). Abs aside, what matters more is that he's able to effectively capture the essence of this surprisingly multifaceted character. Which, if you watched the dearly departed "Friday Night Lights," you know Kitsch can do. After all, Finnick is really just the Tim Riggins of Panem. He's clearly damaged yet still has the capacity to nurture and love — in other words, just two bad boys with big hearts.

After the first film's boffo box office (returns are currently around the $400 million mark), the sequel's success is basically a foregone conclusion. So, Taylor, as you ponder your next career step, why not take a look at the "Catching Fire" script (if you haven't already) and see if you're up for the arena? This could be the blazing hot role you've been looking for.

Do you think Taylor Kitsch would make a good Finnick? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me @amymwilk with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!

Earlier "Hunger Games" columns:
» 'Hunger Games' At The Movie Awards: Dos And Don'ts
» "Catching Fire" Countdown: What to Watch While You Wait
» Francis Lawrence's "Catching Fire" To-Do List
» "Fifty Shades Of Grey": What's In It For "Hunger Games" Fans?
» "Catching Fire": Five Reasons to be Stoked

Check out everything we've got on "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

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