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Exclusive: Bennett Miller & Francis Lawrence In The Mix To Direct 'Catching Fire'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 17, 2012 at 7:07PM

Well, the hunt is now on for a director to take the helm of "The Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire," and before the end of last week a crop of names on Lionsgate's wishlist appeared that included David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Well, you can now add two more directors who are also in the mix for the job and some conversations with them have already begun.
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Bennett Miller, Francis Lawrence, Catching Fire

Well, the hunt is now on for a director to take the helm of "The Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire," and before the end of last week a crop of names on Lionsgate's wishlist appeared that included David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Well, you can now add two more directors also in the mix for the job, and some conversations with them have already begun.

Sources close to the project tell The Playlist that "Moneyball" helmer Bennet Miller and "I Am Legend" director Francis Lawrence are also in contention for the gig. Miller is coming off the very strong baseball drama (another project he picked up in flux when Steven Soderbergh's version was axed at the last minute) which journeyed all the way to the Oscars with six nominations including Best Picture. There's no doubt he's got a handle on drama and emotional tone, and full-on action fare would be a new dynamic, but the filmmaker has proven himself extremely adaptable given his documentary beginnings. There is also the question of "Foxcatcher," the true crime tale he's been trying to make ever since he finished "Capote." Mark Ruffalo recently joined the film that is eyeing a fall shoot, but would Miller be willing to put it on the backburner again? Could there be other factors at play pushing it back? These questions will need answering if Miller were to move forward here.

Meanwhile, Lawrence is the more obvious fit here. The former music video director and filmmaker knows action and effects down cold, and can also handle the dramatic beats the story would need, evidenced by "Water For Elephants." And perhaps more importantly, his schedule is free and he could jump into this right away and get cracking on firming up the Simon Beaufoy-penned script (which we hear needs work) and getting into pre-production mode for the film that could be lensing as early as August.

It's unclear at the moment if the three aforementioned directors are viable options, but regardless, a decision will likely come soon as a start date is only months away and Lionsgate is clearly on the hunt to nail down a filmmaker fast. "Catching Fire" is slated to hit theaters on November 22, 2013. 

This article is related to: Bennett Miller, Francis Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire