With the clock ticking and the Hunger Games' sequel, Catching Fire, needing to be in the can by the end of this year, Lionsgate has narrowed the field of potential directors to two: an Oscar-nominated genre newbie and someone who has put both Will Smith and Keanu Reeves through hell.
The dynamic duo vying for the chance to put Katniss through her incredibly profitable paces—The Hunger Games has already grossed $553 million worldwide in less than four weeks—are Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote) and Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine).
Miller comes with an impressive pedigree and a skill at lifting actors' game, but he's got no genre experience (unless you count baseball as genre). Still, given that Catching Fire focuses more on the romantic entanglements between Katniss, Peeta and Gale than The Hunger Games did, perhaps that sort of sensitivity is required.
Lawrence, on the other hand, has conjured plenty of sci-fi worlds, having shot I Am Legend, Constantine, and the pilots for Touch and Kings—but his one attempt at touchy-feely romance, Water for Elephants, entranced no one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence seems to have a leg up because, basically, he's available—whoever gets the job needs to hit the ground running, and, well, Lawrence (who just wrapped the pilot for ABC's Gotham) isn't all that busy.
While it would've been nice to have seen a female director's name on the list—it was never going to be Kathryn Bigelow, as she is, frankly, out of Lionsgate's league, but there are plenty of other worthy candidates—these two blokes aren't bad choices at all, given the frenzied schedule.
Still, nothing good has ever come of forcing artists to hit a predetermined deadline. More often than not, when you rush the process you get rushed work.
(via Heat Vision)