Friday, April 20, 2012

Catching Fire Catches Francis Lawrence as Next Director

Look Katniss, look at all the millions we will make.
Well, it's official. I suck at creating catchy titles. Oh, that and Catching Fire has found itself a director. Ladies and gentlemen, Lionsgate gives to you:

Francis Lawrence.

Yesterday, I wrote an article that Lawrence and Moneyball's Bennett Miller were the final two candidates to helm Catching Fire. The studio's apparent shortlist of directors included the likes of David Cronenberg, Tony Scott, Stephen Daldry, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, along with Miller and Lawrence. When Lionsgate was animate that they wanted to start shooting in August of this year, Mr. Miller had to turn down their offer. Apparently, the odds were in Francis Lawrence's favor.

I did mention something about Jennifer, right...? Does it matter?
Unfortunately, Miller was already scheduling to shoot Foxcatcher, a film starring Steve Carell, Channing, and Mark Ruffalo. Lionsgate would not want to delay Catching Fire any further, and waiting for Miller to wrap up production could have pushed back the Hunger Games sequel to early 2013. This would have caused all sorts of scheduling conflicts with Jennifer Lawrence, who is also starring in the X-Men: First Class sequel which begins filming in early 2013.
It's relevant. Don't worry about it.
Ergo, the responsibility falls to Francis Lawrence. While Miller would have been an outstanding choice (Moneyball was an incredible film, as was Capote), I personally believe that Lawrence is the better choice to direct a project like Catching Fire. The I Am Legend director is no stranger to over-the-top special effects (as seen in both Constantine and I Am Legend), yet his Water for Elephants proved that he could create a schmaltzy character drama. The combination of the two should suit a film like Catching Fire quite well. Lawrence is also no stranger to big stars or film sets, as he has worked with the likes of Will Smith, Reese Witherspoon, Keanu Reeves, as well as several high-profile singers (he has collaborated with to make a number of music videos, as well).

because... y'know. It's relevant somehow.
All-in-all, Lawrence creates an interesting choice to take over for Ross, who was actively involved not only behind the camera, but also in the script. While some may worry that the screenplay will sorely miss Ross's touch, I beg to differ. Not only will Suzanne Collins be working on it, she is also willing to collaborate with one of the better screenwriters in the industry, Simon Beaufoy. Beaufoy has penned the scripts to the critically acclaimed and heart-tugging film Slumdog Millionaire, as well as the gripping and emotional 127 Hours. While Ross was no slouch to writing (his works include Seabiscuit, Big, and Dave), the combination of Collins and Beaufoy should more than make up for the void left by Ross.

While some will understandably be disappointed that the studio didn't tab one of the available female directors out there (seriously, Patty Jenkins anyone? Kathryn Bigelow?), Lawrence is a strong choice to direct the project.

Plus, Jennifer Lawrence is in it. Did I mention that she's pretty much the best...? Or did my creepy photo blast of her get the point across...

Get excited for Catching Fire, due out in November of 2013!

May the Odds Be Ever in Their Favor.

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