Untitled Film Blog

Earlier this week, The Playlist reported that directors Bennett Miller and Frances Lawrence  were also in contention to take on Catching Fire. A story from Deadline suggests that Miller, who most recently stepped in for Steven Soderbergh and directed Moneyball is interested in the job, but would like the production to push back until next year. Foxcatcher, a pet project of Miller is set to start production in October with Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and, Channing Tatum attached to star. I can’t exactly recall where I heard this interview with Miller, but it seems like he’s been working on Foxcatcher for nearly five years. 

If Lionsgate would push their production start date back and change the release date, Miller would be a great choice. Look at what he was able to get out of Jonah Hill in Moneyball. However, The Hunger Games series is a major source of revenue for Lionsgate. 

It seems interestingly likely that Francis Lawrence will be the man to handle the further adventures of Katniss Everdeen. It’s not to say Lawrence is a bad director, it’s just a choice that does not inspire a lot of hope or excitement. He can handle action (see I Am Legend ) and drama (Water for Elephants), but not really that well.

If Lionsgate and the producers agree on a director like Frances Lawrence, it says to me that we’re going for the money and quality isn’t important. If Lionsgate waits and goes after a director like Bennett Miller or even Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it says that they want to make a better film. As important as Suzanne Collins is, the studio needs to find a director that Jennifer Lawrence wants to work with. Unlike most young actresses, Jennifer Lawrence has a good head on her shoulders. 

Earlier this week, Gary Ross officially withdrew from directing The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. With any story, there are multiple sides to it. Ross wanted a larger paycheck for the sequel from Lionsgate; Ross wasn’t nuts about the other books in the series; Ross didn’t feel like he had enough time to make the best film possible (Production on Catching Fire has begin in August so Jennifer Lawrence can start on the X-Men: First Class sequel [contractual obligation] in January 2013. In addition, Catching Fire is already penciled in for a November 2013 release). 

Lionsgate and Hunger Games producers have assembled a list of directors that they would like to direct the next film. According to 24 Frames, David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu are just some of the names on this wish list. 

Before one gets their hopes up about David Cronenberg’s take on the all star edition of the Hunger Game, every producer and studio creates a master list, wish list of directors that they would like to see direct their hot script. It doesn’t matter if the director is known primarily for writing their own material, they’re going to be on that list and there might be some discussions. For example, David Lynch was offered Return Of The Jedi and Cronenberg was offered Top Gun.

In addition, let’s look at the logistics and scheduling for these three directors: 

  • Alfonso Cuaron is still in post production on his effects heavy space epic, Gravity. Also, Cuaron’s cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki is currently working with Terrence Malick. So, he’s out. 
  • David Cronenberg just finished or is putting the finishing touches on Cosmopolis. He could be available.
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is developing a couple of projects to direct, but how far along are those productions? Perhaps Inarritu will jump on just to work and use any cache earned from directing the film to help push more of the personal projects along. 

Of those three, Inarritu might make the most interesting film. He’s great with actors, directing five actors to Oscar nominations, but he’s an inexperience action director. It’s not to say that he can’t rise to the challenge, but with so much action in the book, it seems ideal to have an action director or with experience. 

At the end of the day, the producers and Lionsgate should ask Jennifer Lawrence to give them a list of who she wants to work with. Obviously, the studio must appease Suzanne Collins, but Jennifer Lawrence is just as important. Happy cast, happy film.