In Spotlight: Sam Claflin's best movie and TV roles - from Peaky Blinders to The Hunger Games

From heart throb to quintessential English chap, Sam Claflin refuses to be pigeonholed - we take a look at his best TV and movie roles so far, ahead of his return to Peaky Blinders.

By James Descombes Published: 15 February 2022 - 11.13am
BBC Sam Claflin as Oswald Mosley in Peaky Blinders

As Peaky Blinders enters its final season, the stars of one of Britain’s biggest shows will be looking forward to playing different types of characters from the ones we’ve learned to love them for.

Sam Claflin, 35, will be one to keep your eye on. The Ipswich actor started off in TV before catapulting himself into big budget films like Pirates of the Caribbean.

With heartthrob status among Hunger Games fans and an array of leading love-interest characters in the likes of Snow White and the Huntsman, it looked like the young actor was being typecast. But star turns in Me Before You, The Riot Club and Peaky Blinders has proved just how versatile Claflin can be. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

These are Sam Claflin’s best movie and TV roles so far.

Book of Love - Henry Copper

In Book of Love, Claflin plays Henry Copper, an author whose latest novel is a complete failure... except in once place – Mexico.

He’s invited to the country to promote the book, only to discover his dull story has been rewritten by his Spanish translator Maria (Veronica Echegui) and turned into an erotic novel. Sparks fly when the pair embark on a book tour across Mexico.

Talking to Entertainment Tonight Claflin commented: "It was just a really uplifting story, very beautiful characters, and even the way that it was described in the script, it just gave so much life to Mexico and the sort of characters within it and the world that these characters lived in."

Book of Love is available to watch on Sky Cinema with a NOW Cinema Membership from 12 February.

Peaky Blinders – Oswald Mosley

Claflin entered the world of Peaky Blinders in season 5, where he played Oswald Mosley, the main antagonist to Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby.

And he admits that he was a bit starstruck on the set of one of Britain’s biggest dramas, telling the Evening Standard, “I’m the biggest fan boy. Genuinely, when I got to set and heard Cillian start talking as Tommy Shelby, I started fangirling a little bit. The director had to go ‘Sam, bring it down, bring it down’.”

Claflin plays Oswald Mosley, based on the real-life British politician who created and led the British Union of Fascists in 1932. It’s been confirmed that Mosley will be back for season 6, coming later this year. 

Watch Peaky Blinders Season 6 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Sunday 27 February.

Seasons 1-5 are available to watch now on iPlayer. 

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Enola Holmes – Mycroft Holmes

ENOLA HOLMES (HENRY CAVILL as SHERLOCK HOLMES, MILLIE BOBBY BROWN as ENOLA HOLMES, SAM CLAFLIN as MYCROFT HOLMES. LEGENDARY 2020

In 2020, Claflin played the role of Mycroft Holmes in the super-successful Netflix drama, Enola Holmes – the teenage sister of the famous detective, Sherlock.

When Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) wakes on the morning of her 16th birthday to find her mother (Helen Bonham Carter) has gone missing, she sets out to find her. When she bumps into her brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft at a train station, Mycroft plans to send her to a finishing school. But Enola escapes and becomes entangled in a mystery surrounding a young runaway lord.

Talking about playing Sherlock and Enola’s older brother, Claflin told Yahoo: “I felt somewhat ashamed to be cast as Henry Cavill’s older brother. He’s a very handsome man, isn’t he? And it’s amazing working with somebody at the peak of their career. Having Superman (Cavill) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) as my younger siblings made me feel slightly inferior, so that added to the flavour of the character, if anything.”

Enola Holmes is available to watch now on Netflix. 

Enola Holmes 2 is coming to Netflix in 2022.

15 top films coming to Netflix this year >

Charlie's Angels - Alexander Brock 

Sam Claflin in Charlie's Angels Patrick Stewart Colombia Pictures

In 2019, Claflin teamed up with Kristen Stewart again for a Charlie’s Angels remake.

Claflin plays Alexander Brock, the CEO of Brock Industries, where a new technology called Callisto has been developed to revolutionise the power industry, but also has a glitch that triggers electromagnetic pulses that could be dangerous in the hands of villains.

Talking about the role, Claflin explained to PopSugar: “I don't think he's a villain… I think he's a businessman, first and foremost, and I think that there's a reason that he's a billionaire. I think he sort of uses people, but I wouldn't say he's a villain.”

Charlie's Angels is available to stream now on Netflix. 

Adrift – Richard Sharp

Based on the true story of events during Hurricane Raymond in 1983, Adrift sees two love birds take on the adventure of a lifetime as they sail across the Pacific Ocean.

But unfortunately for Richard Sharp (Claflin) and Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) one of the most catastrophic hurricanes ever recorded strikes, destroying their boat and injuring Richard. The couple have to find the power and reliance to make it to Hawaii against all circumstances.  

Adrift is available to watch now on Netflix.

Me Before You - Will Traynor

In 2016, Claflin took on what he admits is his most challenging role, and perhaps the most far-removed from his previous work. In Me Before You, alongside Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke, Claflin plays Wil Traynor, who’s recently been paralysed from a motorcycle accident.

Bitter and angry, Will contemplates suicide before his new career Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) steps into his life.

Claflin revealed to Gentleman’s Journal, “I went to a dark place and it’s one of those jobs I took home. I felt emotionally drained and physically it was the most demanding thing I have ever done. I didn’t think it would be that hard. His life is over. Everything he once had or cared about is gone. He’s on his own and bitter and sad and depressed and not in a good place before she enters her life. He needs someone like her who is not afraid.”

Me Before You is available to watch now on Netflix.

The Hunger Games – Finnick Odair

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair in Hunger Games Lionsgate

Claflin joined The Hunger Games film franchise in 2013, on the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was a role that brought world-wide notoriety, playing the character of chiselled heartthrob Finnick Odair, a participant in the 75th Hunger Games event, also known as the Third Quarter Quell.

Finnick returned for The Hunger Game: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 (2014 and 2015) fighting alongside Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 as they rebel against President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Throughout the franchise, Finnick develops from an arrogant former champion to a fan favourite who hates the oppressive Capitol.

And while Finnick is possibly Claflin’s most popular character, he told the Independent, "I don't go around sporting my Finnick Odair look and I immediately grew a beard, well my attempt at a beard, when we finished.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 are available to stream now on Netflix. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is available to rent or buy on Prime Video. 

Snow White and the Huntsman – William 

Sam Claflin as the Prince Snow White Universal Pictures

Shortly after finishing Pirates of the Caribbean, Claflin was offered another film role, this time alongside Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and, of course, Ian McShane, in Snow White and the Huntsman.

Claflin revealed to HeyuguysWell it was definitely very unexpected for me having just finished Pirates, I thought that was a kind of one hit wonder for me.”

In the film, Claflin plays Snow White’s Prince Charming, William. The pair are friends from childhood, but William believes the evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) has Snow White killed. When, years later, he discovers she’s still alive after being saved by a huntsman (Hemsworth), he embarks on a mission to find her and defeat Queen Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman is available to rent or buy now on Prime Video. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Philip Swift

Sam Claflin as Philip in Pirates Walt Disney Pictures

In 2012, Hollywood came calling. Claflin’s first film role was alongside Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – the fourth instalment of the film franchise.

Claflin plays Philip Swift, a missionary that falls in love with the beautiful mermaid Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and tries to protect her from Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

It was a big step up for the inexperienced Claflin, as he recalled to Gentleman's Journal:

“I went for an audition in London and it was by far the biggest thing I’ve done and I didn’t feel confident. There wasn’t a possibility of getting it. Of course there wasn’t. A week went by and the producers wanted to see me in LA. But I had to fork out for the flights to get there, I didn’t know anyone and hadn’t been paid for my previous jobs at that point. It was quite a risk – I wiped out my bank account and went into my overdraft to get to LA.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is available to rent or buy now on Prime Video. 

Any Human Heart – Logan Mountstuart 

Any Human Heart Sam Claflin Joss Barratt C4

Sam Claflin made his acting debut in 2010, alongside Ian McShane in the Channel 4 mini-series The Pillars of Earth.

The show went on to secure three Golden Globe nominations (including Best Mini Series) and helped Claflin secure an even juicier role in the 2010 Channel 4 mini-series, Any Human Heart.

Based on the novel by William Boyd, the series tells the life story of Logan Mountstuart – a novelist who travels the world through the decades meeting famous faces along the way.

Starring alongside Jim Broadbent and Matthew Macfayden, Claflin plays Logan Mountstuart during his early life in the 1920s in Paris and Oxford, showcasing his lust for life and women. The show won the Best Drama Serial BAFTA in 2011.

Any Human Heart is available to stream now on BritBox.