Lionsgate Picks Francis Lawrence to Direct Catching Fire
Lionsgate has picked Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, replacing Gary Ross, who opted out of the gig after helming the hugely successful first installment of the franchise.
Per THR, Lawrence’s selection raises the question of the state of the Catching Fire screenplay. Ross, who is a writer as much as he is a director, worked on The Hunger Games script and was planning on spending two months honing Fire, working from a script penned by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). The producers and the new director now will need to keep working with Beaufoy or hire new scribes to hammer out the script before shooting begins.
The moviemakers are facing a ticking clock, especially since Lionsgate has set a November 22, 2013, release date for Catching Fire, the second of four planned movies based on Suzanne Collins' trilogy of books. Also coming into play is that shooing for Fire likely needs to be done by early January so that star Jennifer Lawrence, who is not related to the Austria-born director, can begin shooting the sequel to X-Men: First Class in late January. Fox, which is making that movie, has an option on the actress that supersedes her Lionsgate commitment.
The sequel to the 2008 bestseller continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and the fictional, futuristic nation of Panem. Due to the events of the previous novel, a rebellion against the ruling Capitol has begun, and Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta are forced to return to the arena in a special edition of The Hunger Games.
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