Earlier this week, it was reported that Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence had emerged as the new frontrunners to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to the wildly popular The Hunger Games. With a tight schedule, and Lionsgate obviously wanting to fill the gap as soon as possible, news came out that the studio was likely to make their pick by the end of the week. Now, they have done just that as it seems the film may finally have a new leader.
THR reports that Lawrence has been offered the job by the studio, and if he reaches a deal and signs with Lionsgate, he will have effectively replaced Gary Ross, who left the sequel after a cramped pre-production schedule among other things.
Lawrence directed the controversial yet still well received I Am Legend, as well as last year’s Water For Elephants, and will be working under a tight schedule. Production on the sequel to The Hunger Games is set to commence in the very early fall, in order to make room for Jennifer Lawrence’s shooting of X-Men: First Class 2 in January. Besides North Carolina, Catching Fire is set to be filmed in Hawaii as well for certain scenes, though that may have changed now that Ross has left the project.
The director’s first job will be looking over and working with scribe Simon Beaufoy to revise the script that Beaufoy has already written in order to come up with a finalized draft before production begins.
Miller, meanwhile, always seemed like a longshot for the directorial position due to his new project Foxcatcher recently nabbing Mark Ruffalo to star alongside Steve Carell. Obviously he’s chosen to tackle the film as his follow-up to the Oscar nominated Moneyball.
Catching Fire is currently set for a release on November 22nd, 2013.