So much for David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Bennet Miller, The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire will be directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water For Elephants). Or at least it’s been offered to him (he’ll take it).
Per Variety, “Lionsgate has offered the ‘Catching Fire’ directing gig to Francis Lawrence… Lionsgate is planning to shoot the movie starting in the late summer.”
Earlier reports had claimed Lawrence as the frontrunner because his schedule was open. Lionsgate wants to get the sequel into production by August for a release date of November 22nd, 2013. The script will again be adapted by both novelist Suzanne Collins and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. The Hunger Games, which echoes Running Man and Battle Royale, has surpassed $500 million worldwide – so I understand the need for a sequel. What I don’t understand is the rush to a release date. If the director of your big hit bows out in part because of time issues, it makes more sense to me to create time for him rather than find someone who will now have even less time to prepare.
It’s not like this thing isn’t going to be a hit – it is. I’m not necessarily against Lawrence, I’m against the rush. Lionsgate has a potential Harry Potter on their hands, a franchise of mega blockbuster films that could actually be known for being good, but they’re treating it like another Twilight. At least one HP film shifted release dates because it wasn’t ready. And another switched away from being in 3D because it didn’t look good. It’s too bad that choices from that mindset are comparatively bold.
The sequel, “features a special edition of the Hunger Games every quarter-century in which tributes are “reaped” from the victors of past games. Among the key new characters is Finnick, a combatant in the second book who leads a revolt against the Capitol, and the head Gamemaker in the second book who turns out to be working stealthily for the uprising.“