Catching Fire Francis Lawrence

...and then there was one. The hunt for the director to take the helm of "Catching Fire" looks to be nearing an end. Just a couple days after we reported that Francis Lawrence and Bennett Miller were in the hunt for the job, it now looks like Lionsgate has decided on their man.

THR reports that an offer has officially gone out to Lawrence to get behind the camera for the sequel to "The Hunger Games." Apparnetly both Miller and Lawrence met with the studio today, and a decision was made to go with the latter. Why? Well, Miller is gearing up "Foxcatcher" to shoot this fall -- December is now being eyed as the start date -- with Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, and while we was up for the job, moving this true crime drama to accomodate "Catching Fire," which could start as early as August, apparently wasn't possible. Add to the fact that Miller has been trying to get that movie made since he completed "Capote" and it seems schedules just weren't going to allow for it.

And frankly, Lawrence is probably better suited to be dropped in. He's done special effects movies before ("I Am Legend," "Constantine") knows this territory like the back of his hand, and can swiftly get in there especially since his calendar is wide open. But perhaps most interesting, is the version(s) of "Catching Fire" that could have been...

The trade reports that Tomas Alfredson ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"), Joe Cornish ("Attack The Block"), Duncan Jones ("Moon") and Cary Fukunaga ("Sin Nombre," "Jane Eyre") were all also shortlisted for the job at various points, while Deadline added yesterday that Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Orphange") was also in the mix. Some of these (like Cornish) didn't make it to a meeting, but it's clear the studio was casting a pretty wide net.

So there you have it, it looks like Lawrence has this thing in the bag unless the deal doesn't work out, but it sems like it will. See it at the multiplex on November 22, 2013.