Catching Fire’s director is not on fire
Or, I guess I should say potential director, since the offer has not been officially accepted yet. After Gary Ross exited the franchise a couple weeks ago, speculation began about who would take over the reins of The Hunger Games sequel. I was hoping for someone with some vision and scope, but Lionsgate has extended an offer to I Am Legend and Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence, who is pretty much the opposite of “vision and scope”.
That’s not to say Lawrence is a bad director—he’s not. He’s a technically proficient journeyman director which means he’ll deliver an attractive end product, but he won’t be a game-changer, not the way Alfonso Cuaron—who was rumored to be on the shortlist for the Catching Fire gig—was for Harry Potter. The Hunger Games’ major problem was an emotional disconnect between the film and the audience. It didn’t have much heart. I was hoping, since they were hiring a new director, that putting some of that depth into the franchise would be a priority, but status quo seems to be good enough, so status quo it is.
It’s not going to be the end of the world. Lawrence is a decent director, and I don’t doubt Catching Fire will look fine. I’m just not expecting fireworks, you know? What’s really interesting about Deadline’s report on this, though, has nothing to do with the director situation but with Jennifer Lawrence’s awkward position straddling the line between two studio franchises. Fox has first priority with the X-Men: First Class sequel, but they gave Lionsgate first dibs on Lawrence’s schedule since Fox is still pulling together their movie and apparently there’s tension between the studios since Lionsgate was not similarly friendly last summer when X-Men was doing press and Lawrence was not made so readily available from shooting The Hunger Games.
And did you catch that at the end? X-Men is due to start shooting in January 2013. And there’s speculation that Fox still won’t be ready to go by then. Is something wrong with X-Men?
Attached - Jennifer Lawrence on El Horminguero in Madrid yesterday.