— by CHERRY BELL DAMASCO-FARRINGTON —
With Gary Ross officially turning down the sequel to the highly successful “The Hunger Games” in early April, Lionsgate embarked on a quest to find his replacement a few weeks after the release of the film. The Hollywood Reporter reported earlier today that Lawrence would receive an official offer today. If he accepts the offer and a deal can be worked out, Lawrence will replace Ross as director of the sequel.
Numerous directors were vying for the opportunity to direct “Catching Fire” and the field was narrowed down to Francis Lawrence — who directed “I Am Legend” and “Water For Elephants” — and Bennett Miller — director of Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated flick “Moneyball.” Both directors met with Lionsgate Thursday and it is believed that an offer has been made.
At this point, Lawrence is believed to be the frontrunner of the two simply due to scheduling and overall availability. Bennett Miller is looking at a December start to the film “Foxcatcher,” a project centering on John Du Pont that has been the director’s central focus for several years. The project currently has Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo set to star. It would be a scheduling nightmare if delayed at this point.
In the weeks following Ross’ decision to leave the franchise, other directors who were in contention for the sequel were Tomas Alfredson, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Cary Fukunaga and Duncan Jones.
Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is currently working on the script for “Catching Fire.” Whoever directs the film will need to work with Beaufoy or hire a new writer and produce scenes before shooting begins in the fall.
The clock is ticking away quickly and Lionsgate has set a Nov. 23, 2013, release date for “Catching Fire.” With all this in mind, Jennifer Lawrence (no relation to the director) will be reprising her role as Mystique in the sequel to “X- Men: First Class” that has set its production to begin shooting in January 2013. Fox has an option on the actress that supersedes her commitment to Lionsgate.
The story is still developing, but it is most likely that Lawrence will accept the job. We’ll see where he decides to go with “Catching Fire.”
What do you think of the possibility of Francis Lawrence as director of “Catching Fire”? Sound off in the comments section and let us know.
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