Hollywood hunk Sam Claflin came to prominence playing Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games. He stars opposite Lily Collins in the new Cecelia Ahern adaptation Love, Rosie
On-screen chemistry is important in a film, especially when the actors have to portray a life-long relationship. How did you and Lily Collins capture that bond?
Our chemistry was quite a natural development. We were forced into a meeting early on and the director sat us down and told us to describe the little features in each other’s faces.
It’s difficult to explain, it was a very intense situation but we kind of laughed about it and there was an immediate bond. Later, we spent a few evenings out in London so by the time we got to filming it felt like I had known her for years.
Scenes for the film were shot around Dublin. Did you get a chance to explore much of the city?
Not excessively so, I’m afraid. It was quite a tight shoot – we were filming all day and by the time we got home in the evenings there were only a few hours before we had to be back on set. We certainly explored a few of the local drinking holes.
You married actor Laura Haddock last year. That was quite romcom-esque, right?
We auditioned for the film My Week With Marilyn. She was reading for the part of Marilyn Monroe and I was in for the role of Colin Clark. I was immediately awestruck and rang my agent to tell him I had met the girl I want to marry. The next morning at 5.30am, I was getting off the tube and the doors opened and we bumped into each other. We stayed in contact and a few months later she came out to LA to visit. The rest is history… I told that to Richard Curtis once and he said ‘I need to write about this!’
Producer Simon Brooks has likened you to a young Hugh Grant. Is that a comparison that sits easily with you? That’s insane. I personally don’t understand the comparison but it’s a huge compliment. I don’t strive to achieve that necessarily – even though I’m a big fan of Hugh Grant and love his work. I’m not specifically pursuing the romcom genre – I wasn’t aware of Cecelia Ahern’s book, for instance, before I read the script – but I’m open to it. It’s good to keep your options open rather than pigeonholing yourself.
You’ve reprised the role of Finnick Odair for the third Hunger Games. What was it like to get the nod for the character?
I didn’t really know what I had gotten myself into before I went through the books. But I quickly became aware that I had been cast as a character with such physical prowess – which I wasn’t entirely in the mould of at the time. I was shell-shocked but I wasn’t going to complain.
Did you find fans of the book could be very precious about certain characters?
When I got cast there was a bit of uproar I didn’t look like Finnick Odair was expected to. People had the image of the perfect man – which doesn’t exist – and then when I was cast it was like: ‘No, no he’s fat; he’s not right at all’. But the Hunger Games world has warmed to me.
Is hacking and intrusion something you have had to contend with as an actor?
I’ve witnessed first-hand a lot of this having worked with Johnny Depp, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and guys who experience intrusion on a level that no one should ever have to. I’ve not experienced it personally and I don’t know how I’d deal with it if it did come my way. But I just hope and pray that things never get to the point where I can’t walk down the street. Assumptions in the media without any facts or evidence are what really upsets me about the celebrity lifestyle.
Luke Holohan Love, Rosie opens on Friday