Sam Claflin: 5 Things to Know About the New ‘Hunger Games’ Star

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After nearly every young, attractive actor in Hollywood — from Taylor Kitsch to Garrett Hedlund — was offered up as a tribute, the Hunger Games: Catching Fire finally found its Finnick Odair in young British actor Sam Claflin.

While the 26-year-old classically-trained actor is a relative newcomer to the industry, he’s already shared screen time with some of the business’ most prominent faces — from Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. But he’s not going to let that get to his head.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the fame,” Claflin told Men’s Health in 2011. “But Johnny Depp gave me this great piece of advice: If you remain true to yourself and stay grounded, you’d be well respected by everyone around you.”

Get to know more about the latest ‘Hunger Games’ star.

In Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy, Finnick, a former Hunger Games winner from District 4, befriends Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) at the Quarter Quell and plays an important role in her post-Games life.

Here are five essential things you need to know about the actor:

1. He was an aspiring pro soccer player. 
As a child, Claflin was an avid soccer fan who played at the county level in his native U.K. Unfortunately, he suffered two broken ankles at age 16, bringing his pro soccer dreams to a halt. “After I broke my ankle when I was 16, football started to fade from my life,” he told Men’s Health. “However, at around the same time, I started acting (in school productions) and my interest in drama grew. Soon, I realized that acting became a replacement for football… That filled the void.”

2. He’s a newcomer to the Hollywood scene.
Claflin graduated London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in 2009 and didn’t land his first film role until 2011 in James Strong’s United. However, the young actor grabbed the attention of moviegoers across the world when he was cast as Philip in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, alongside his Hollywood mentor, Depp. Most recently, he starred as Prince William in Rupert Sanders’ film debut, Snow White and the Huntsman.

3. He likes to treat himself.
“One of the first pieces of advice I was ever given, on my first job was, you should always buy something to treat yourself to say well done for getting the job,” he told IGN while promoting Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. “However I’ve not followed on that through yet… I’ve always wanted a tattoo, something to mark my experience. Maybe [a skull and] crossbones or that sort of thing.”

4. Actor Ian McShane is his good luck charm.
Claflin has starred alongside McShane in three productions: Pirates, Snow White and the Huntsman and the TV show, The Pillars of the Earth. “The guy really has taken me under his wing so I have to thank him, and if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have got Pirates as well, he gave me a bit of a nudge in that direction,” he told movie blog Den of Geek.

5. His childhood dream was to be a pirate. 
“I remember, after my first job [on Pillars of the Earth], I played a knight with the swords, the armor and everything,” he told IGN. “Then I wrapped and the first thing I said to my mum was, ‘Okay I’m done being a knight, I want to be a pirate now.’ [laughs] And my next audition was for Pirates of the Caribbean 4. She said, ‘You’re going to get it, it’s fate…’ But I mean, every childhood dream is to be a pirate.”

Check out a special Hunger Games Comic-Con clip below.