Francis Lawrence to helm 'Catching Fire'
Less than two weeks after Gary Ross bowed out of Catching Fire, Lionsgate has hired I Am Ledged, Water for Elephant and Constantine director Francis Lawrence to adapt the second book in The Hunger Games Saga. The studio had narrowed the field to three potential directors, Lawrence, Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller and Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), but like Ross the Spanish director requested a delay so he could film another movie. Of course, Ross dropped out was because of the accelerated filming schedule; he felt he could not prep the sequel in time. Lionsgate had already locked in a November 22, 2013 release date for the film, and with star Jennifer Lawrence’s every busy career on the upswing, they needed to begin filming ASAP. While word has come that 20th Century Fox may not be ready to launch the X Men: First Class sequel by January as planned –Lawrence’s option on that film precedes the Catching Fire movie- Deadline reports some tension between Fox and Lionsgate already exists, as the actress was not able to promote that Fox film because she was working on Hunger Games. So in the end, they felt Lawrence could get the project up and running by August.