After the departure of director Gary Ross from the Hunger Games franchise, Lionsgate has been scrambling to get a new director in place for the sequel, Catching Fire. It looks like that decision has finally been made, with Deadline reporting that the job has been offered to I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence.
The job came down to Lawrence and Moneyball director Bennett Miller, but Miller balked at the August start date for the sequel. Lionsgate wants to get right into production in order to ensure that the film is completed in time for star Jennifer Lawrence to begin shooting the follow-up to X-Men: First Class in January. The rigid timeline is one of the biggest reasons that Ross stepped down, and many are concerned that Catching Fire will suffer from a rushed production schedule.
Lawrence, whose previous work also includes Constantine and Water For Elephants, certainly has a flair for gorgeous visuals, and should have no problem taking the reins and continuing to develop the vision that Ross helped create. He is expected to begin working on the script alongside series author Suzanne Collins and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, and should be ready to roll camera in August.