After rooting around in a large bowl filled with names/pitting contenders against each other in a contest of murder and feelings/choose your own thematically appropriate metaphor, Lionsgate has chosen Francis Lawrence to direct Catching Fire, the Hunger Games sequel that Gary Ross recently abandoned due to being uncomfortable with its tight production schedule. Lawrence (whose participation now requires a “no relation to star Jennifer Lawrence” to be appended to his name for all eternity) is perhaps best known for directing the films Constantine, I Am Legend, and Water For Elephants, though he’s also the prolific music video director behind clips for Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Avril Lavigne, and The Black Eyed Peas, so he’s well schooled in the slick artifice and dystopian emptiness that is the hallmark of the Capitol.
In landing the gig, Lawrence beat out a slightly more intriguing candidate, Moneyball director Bennett Miller—who opted to concentrate on his upcoming John Du Pont story with Steve Carell—as well as several other, slightly more unique filmmakers like Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre), and Duncan Jones (Moon). But when you’re working with three months to throw together the sequel in one of filmdom’s biggest growing franchises, “singular vision” and stuff just kind of gets in the way.
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