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

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 17, 2012 7:07 PM
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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. 

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  • Bonnie Weiss | April 20, 2012 4:12 PMReply

    Why is Hollywood so against giving female Directors a chance. Penny Marshall, how about if you
    get the lady directors together and help each other out. It's called "starting a team". And it is so evident in Hollywood, and most workplaces, females are still at the bottom rung. HELP!!!

  • Connor | April 19, 2012 4:27 PMReply

    I'd go for Bennett Miller

  • Oogle monster | April 17, 2012 10:33 PMReply


  • Rachael | April 17, 2012 9:12 PMReply

    So ... Francis Lawrence has directed Constantine, I Am Legend, and Water For Elephants. Oh and J-Lo and Britney Spears videos. Humm. Not exactly a resume that fills me with confidence in his abilities. Uggh.

  • Silly | April 18, 2012 5:33 PM

    @Rachael. Imdb is not the bible you know?

  • 88 | April 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    OK, I see. Well, directors do work on scripts most of the time, either with the writer or on their own. The kind of re-writing they do goes uncredited.

  • Rachael | April 17, 2012 9:40 PM

    @88 - I'm just confused because I've heard zero talk about hiring another writer, only directors. And this article (along with all others I've seen) implies that the director will be helping to finish the script. Frankly I'm still confused as to why they couldn't just keep Gary Ross on to finish the script and get someone else to direct. But that may have been because Gary wanted full control (an all or nothing type deal).

    But anyway, this article basically directly states that the director would be helping to "firm up" the script, not another writer. So that's why I'm confused.

  • 88 | April 17, 2012 9:32 PM

    Why wouldn't they be able to hire a writer as well?

  • Rachael | April 17, 2012 9:17 PM

    Oh and I just realized, in looking at Francis Lawrence's IMDB page, he is NOT a writer. He has zero writing credits to his name ... don't they need someone who is both a writer and a director on this if Simon Beaufoy's script still needs work?? Then again, Bennett Miller has zero writing credits on IMDB either.

  • Marko | April 17, 2012 7:35 PMReply

    Well he did direct the music video for Lady Gaga's Bad Romance, so he definitely has experience with people wearing ridiculous outfits.

  • ATHENA | April 17, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    Never the article again and apparently he's a good director or at least a"good fit" for Catching Fire.

  • Athena | April 17, 2012 7:26 PMReply

    I'm not familiar with Francis Lawrence (I haven't seen either of the films mentioned in this article)....just curious, is he a good director?. I am familiar with Bennet Miller and loved Capote and Moneyball. Is Joss Whedon or Katherine Bigelow terribly busy? (LOL).

  • a | April 17, 2012 7:15 PMReply

    Yeah, I can totally see Lawrence getting the gig. Miller not so much.

  • Jason | April 18, 2012 5:07 PM

    Ugh, I hope not. Although he does seem like the type of director Lionsgate would want, for obvious reasons. :\

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