With time fast running out for Lionsgate to sort out a director for the sequel to the Hunger Games, a few days ago the company made an offer to whom they feel would be best to helm the film. With Gary Ross suddenly leaving Catching Fire, Lionsgate have been urgently trying to find a replacement director due to the tight schedule to get the film made. With star Jennifer Lawrence due to begin filming the sequel to X-Men: First Class next January, and Catching Fire having a planned release for November 2013, the race is on to find a director, quick.
Catching Fire is expected to begin production in August, and if you remember, Lionsgate did have a wishlist of three directors a week ago. Sadly, none of those three directors, which included David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaran (Children of Men) and Alejandro Gonzalez (21 Grams), have been offered the directors job of Catching Fire. Instead, two more names were added to the short-list a few days ago, Bennet Miller (Moneyball) and Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend).
Miller is currently about to begin work on his Steve Carell drama Foxcatcher, which starts shooting in December, so scheduling appears to have been an issue there. Instead, Lionsgate have made an offer to Francis Lawrence to take up directors duties. Lawrence has previously directed I Am Legend, Constantine and Water For Elephants.
The schedule to get Catching Fire is extremely tight, and should Lawrence accept the offer it will be a very testing project indeed. Apparently one of the reasons Gary Ross walked away from the project was the time restraints and his concerns he could not commit to such a tight schedule and produce a film as good as The Hunger Games in the time allowed.
We will have to wait to see if Lawrence accepts the offer, but expect things to move pretty quickly.
By Matt Wavish