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Lisa Twang
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Showbiz

Cheeky charmer

The New Paper | Lisa Twang | Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Britain has had a good run in producing heart-throbs of late.

Charming chaps who make women around the globe weak at the knees. Guys with odd surnames like Cumberbatch, Hiddleston and now Claflin.

With his perfectly tousled hair, impish green eyes and a physique suited to Men's Health covers, Sam Claflin cuts an impressive figure.

But this lad, armed with a goofy charm few can resist, certainly didn't take himself too seriously.

In a smart Soho hotel, he settled on the couch by plonking himself on the giant cushions unceremoniously and let out a whoop of delight.

"This is fun!" he declared in his lively English accent, bouncing around with movements that were less Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah, more gleeful schoolboy.

There's a confidence that stays clear of arrogance. Certainly not the swagger of his character in The Hunger Games.

FINNICK FAME

The 28-year-old Brit was cast as Finnick Odair, the flirtatious, trident-wielding victor who makes the ladies swoon.

"Being cast as Finnick meant there was huge pressure on my shoulders," he admitted.

"He's meant to be like a god - a Hercules-like figure - and no one was ever going to live up to that."

He added: "Every fan had their idea of who Finnick should be like: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ben Affleck... Whoever they cast would have seemed wrong."

Yet the haters provided a spur.

"The negativity behind the fan reaction made me work harder and want to prove everyone wrong."

Clearly undeterred, Clafin is ready to do just that.

His latest movie, Love, Rosie, is another adaptation. It is based on Cecelia Ahern's wildly successful 2004 best-seller, Where Rainbows End.

Ahern's first novel, P.S. I Love You, was adapted into a 2007 film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.

Love, Rosie, opening in Singapore tomorrow, follows childhood best friends Alex (Claflin) and Rosie (Lily Collins), a perfect match trapped in friend-zone hell.

Alex moves to Boston and Rosie remains in Ireland. Over 12 years, they figure out life, love and other crises, from finding dates for the school dance to Rosie's unexpected teen pregnancy.

It is Claflin's first romantic comedy, though the man is no stranger to whirlwind romance.

He said he knew when he met British actress Laura Haddock, 29, that he was looking at the woman he wanted to marry.

They started dating after meeting at a friend's party in 2011. In 2013, they exchanged vows.

"Some people fall in love at first sight, like me and my wife.

"But some relationships are born out of friendship and a long-lasting chemistry... they have the in-jokes no one else understands."

He continued: "Rosie and Alex have a beautiful friendship, and they care for each other so much that they're willing to live for each other.

"Inevitably, the two of them realise they are the perfect match."

Rosie's chief rival for Alex's affections is their schoolmate-turned-model Bethany, played by real-life supermodel Suki Waterhouse.

Initially besotted by her blonde tresses and perfect bum, Alex has to choose between Rosie and Bethany.

"I think Alex doesn't really know what he's looking for. As he gets older, he realises what everyone wants in a wife is a best friend. One who's been under his nose his whole life. "And he finds her attractive, which is a bonus!"

Claflin's career isn't looking too shabby either.

Things have been looking up for him since his Hollywood break in Pirates Of The Carribean: On Stranger Tides, where he got to run around with Penelope Cruz and snog a mermaid.

Since then, he has starred in Snow White And The Huntsman (2012), British thriller The Riot Club (2014) and of course the final two films of The Hunger Games franchise.

Part one of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay opens in Singapore on Nov 20, followed by the finale in 2015.

But despite Claflin's success, he joked that he wasn't immune to some good old-fashioned Hollywood rivalry.

"I've been very fortunate in my career, but Robert Pattinson's always five steps ahead of me!" he exclaimed, laughing.

"I am desperate to get into the right rooms, and there are still people I wouldn't get an opportunity to meet.

"I'm just trying to stay open to the right thing that comes along, whether it's sci-fi, action...

"Or playing the new James Bond."

It was a sizeable hint from Claflin. Debonair, dashing and with a sense of adventure?

Sounds like Claflin wants to trade his trident for a gun and martini glass.


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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