Catching Fire: Bennet Miller and Francis Lawrence Join Battle For The Director’s Chair

(Written for Lost In The Multiplex)

With the recent news that Gary Ross will not be directing The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, the hunt for a director continues as Lionsgate eye-up a number of candidates to fill the job, as the list that already comprises of Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, now also includes the addition of Bennet Miller and Francis Lawrence.

Released late last month, The Hunger Games has now made over $530m worldwide since its release on 23rd March and, now in its fourth week, still remains at the box office.

Author of The Hunger Games trilogy that the films are adapted from, Suzanne Collins worked very closely with director Gary Ross on the first film, so the studio are now looking to please both Collins as well as the substantial fan base that the film has picked up.

According to sources, the studio are looking for a director with enough credit to appeal to Collins, as she is much more interested in the quality of filmmaking than its potential, or should we say inevitable, box-office success.

But the search will not be an easy one, as the studio plans to get Catching Fire in production by August, with a cinema release date already scheduled for 22nd November, 2013, one of the reasons that Ross didn’t want to continue with the franchise.

The script has already been penned by Salmon Yemen In The Fishing director Simon Beaufoy, although it is said to still need a lot of work, so the director, even before knowing whether he is the chosen man for the job or not, already has a lot on his hands.

Whilst we can keep guessing as to who will be directing the second part of the already hugely successful franchise, we do have a – relatively – small selection of directors to choose from.

So who do you think it will be?

Alfonso Cuaron – director of the third film in the Harry Potter franchise, The Prisoner of Azkaban, in 2004, but not otherwise known with any blockbuster hits, rather for the 2006 sci-fi drama Children of Men and the upcoming sci-fi thriller Gravity which stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

David Cronenberg – director of the sci-fi horror classic The Fly and the upcoming Robert Pattison starring adaptation of Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis, but known for turning down big commercial gigs including Return of the Jedi, Top Gun, and RoboCop.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – known for his recent hard-hitting drama, Biutiful, and the 2007 Academy Award-nominated drama, Babel, which starred Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and was also produced by The Hunger Games producer Jon Kilik.

Bennet Miller – director of the recently successful Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, and the 2005 biographical crime drama Capote which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Or Francis Lawrence – director of the Will Smith starring I Am Legend and of the recent romantic drama Water For Elephants which starred Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.

Any of these five men are sure to bring something fresh and exciting to the franchise, and all would be a reassuring choice for both fans and Collins. Whilst Cuaron seems like a safe choice after already working on the Harry Potter franchise, I would like to see something much darker and less child fantasy from the other directors.

Nevertheless, the choice will have to be made soon with only a couple of months left until the film goes into production, so keep an eye for some confirmation shortly.

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