With Gary Ross’ departure from The Hunger Games franchise after he was unable to reach an agreement to direct the film’s sequels with Lionsgate, the production company has turned their attention to Moneyball director Bennett Miller and Water For Elephants director Francis Lawrence.
Signs point to Lionsgate going with Miller as he’s received a large amount of attention from the production company, he’s interested in the job, and he’s helmed a big budget movie before in I Am Legend. Miller’s direction in Moneyball earned the film six Academy Award nominations and was legitimately one of the best movies of 2011. While I Am Legend could be chalked up as a disappointment as far as summer blockbusters go, the film made money and Miller did wonders basically working with one actor the entire movie. It’s not a stretch to think that Miller could make Catching Fire, which is very similar to The Hunger Games, a movie of its own and set up the final film Mockingjay nicely.
Lawrence doesn’t seem to be garnering the same type of attention and doesn’t have quite the resume. His most recent film Water For Elephants wasn’t terrible but didn’t seem to live up to the hype either. However, Lawrence showed tremendous direction with directing the films big stars in Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz. He’s presumably still in the running, but given him and Miller as the choices, I’d go with Miller every day of the week.
Deadline is reporting that Lionsgate also reached out to The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona, but nothing concrete has been planned for him. Bayona would be an interesting choice as The Orphanage is a vastly underrated drama/horror title. He’s got a unique vision that would serve him well with Catching Fire but I don’t think he has a chance.
Personally I’d love to see Lionsgate reach out to Guillermo del Toro. del Toro has such a unique directing style and he’s directed big budget action films (Hell Boy 2) and critically acclaimed films that focus on the struggles within and character direction (Pans Labyrinth). He’d be a slam dunk hire at director, in my opinion.
Either way, Bennett Miller would be a solid hire to continue the trilogy.