Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Stars I Love: Sam Claflin

Sam Claflin Glamour UK photographer Matt Holyoak
Glamour UK / Matt Holyoak
Many male stars starting out in Hollywood are known for their pretty faces and washboard abs. That's actually how Australian native Sam Claflin spent his early days in some of the biggest franchises like a lovestruck rebel in Pirates of the Caribbean and Snow White's childhood friend William in Snow White and the Huntsman. In 2013, he hit the jackpot as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games, which is one of my favorite book characters, and it's been fascinating to see his career grow over the past five years.

One of my favorite qualities about Claflin is that I never know where he is going to turn up next and I always forget what I've seen him in before - in a good way. He surprises me by the amount of different roles he's taken on in only seven years. His characters are never quite the same, nor is he particularly attached to one genre or another. (And like another one of my favorites Chris Pine, Claflin often works with female directors and his characters support heroines to do their own thing....) In a celebration of his birthday, here are my five favorite roles of his so far. What are your favorite Sam Claflin movies? Feel free to share in the comments below!

5 Favorite Roles

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Handsome, charming, muscled. It's easy to see why Finnick is the Capitol's darling. But as one of the previous victors brought back to join the latest Hunger Games, it's difficult to know whether he's playing the game or making a genuine alliance to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). For those who saw the movies but didn't read the books, most of his backstory doesn't come to light until Mockingjay. You don't know exactly what he has up his sleeve until his true intentions is revealed. But for those who read the books, Claflin does a wonderful job playing Finnick as too sleezy, macho, or over-the-top, and with a hint of tragedy behind that pearly white smile.

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Me Before You

Louisa (Emilia Clarke) becomes the hired caregiver to Will, a young man who is paralyzed from the waist down. While they fall in love, she tries to change his mind about choosing to end his life. Though I loved the book, I struggled with the movie for a variety of reasons (script/writer/director/author), the story has a wonderful cast and production design (I want everything Emilia wears please). Emilia plays Louise with exuberance and naivety, and Sam gives a great balance of loss over what's happened to him and why he makes his decision. Together, they're quite charming and have a marvelous chemistry.

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My Cousin Rachel

If you need a moody, mind-bending gothic-horror-romance to fall in love with, My Cousin Rachel is  spot-on. Based on the book by Daphne DuMaurier, Phillip (Sam Claflin) suspects his cousin's wife (Rachel Weisz) is responsible for his unexpected death. With a powerhouse performance by Weisz, it's difficult to know if Rachel was guilty or innocent in her husband's passing. Equally, Claflin follows her lead as Phillip, being caught up in her web of lies (or are they?) and torn between falling in love with her or planning revenge.

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Their Finest

During the London Blitz, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is recruited by the Ministry of Information to bring a female perspective to propaganda movies. With a fellow screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin), they craft a new project that brings hope to civilians in the middle of World War II. Their relationship grows to be head-over-heels romantic, but there's a still a refreshing independence that blossoms between them as well. Buckley is your typical debonair writer who leads the project, but it's fun to see Catrin control the shots, and see him mentor her talent to work on her own.

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The Riot Club

A group of entitled Oxford students continue a generational organization known as The Riot Club to raise as much debauchery as possible. They carry their wealth, alcoholism, drug issues, and sexual misconducts like invincible badges of honor. When Alistair (Claflin) is tapped to join the club alongside another student Miles (Max Irons), his jealousy grows to a point of no return. Claflin typically plays charming leading men, but Alistair is the first one where, he's not only selfish, but proud of the lengths he'll go to in edging out the competition. It's definitely one of his most unexpected performances.

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