‘Catching Fire’: Our Breakdown Of Two New Possible Directors

Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence have been added to short list to direct 'Hunger Games' sequel.

It is now certainly safe to say that the search for a “Catching Fire” director is under way. Not long after “Hunger Games” director href="http://www.mtv.com/movies/person/96502/personmain.jhtml">Gary Ross turned down the job, names of potential replacements began appearing. Last week, a Lionsgate wish list of seven or eight directors included the names David Cronenberg, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron. (We also had a few suggestions of our own.)

Now, two more possibilities have stepped forward. target="_blank">The Playlist is reporting that Bennett Miller and href="http://www.mtv.com/movies/person/271344/personmain.jhtml">Francis Lawrence are also in contention for the gig. Both directors have impressive résumés, but “Catching Fire” would be their most noteworthy credits to date.

Here is our breakdown of the two latest candidates.

Bennett Miller
Background: Documentary

Miller’s first film was a doc he directed and shot called “The Cruise” about a New York City tour guide.

Big Break: “Capote

Miller’s first feature film was a biography of Truman Capote during his years writing “In Cold Blood.” Miller’s college classmate, Dan Futterman, wrote the screenplay. Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s role in the film won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

What You Probably Know Him From: “ href="http://www.mtv.com/movies/movie/419725/moviemain.jhtml">Moneyball”

When “Hunger Games” second unit director Steven Soderbergh’s version of the baseball drama ran aground, Miller picked up the project and led the film to a Best Picture nomination at this year’s Academy Awards.

Pros: Character and Vision

In both of Miller’s feature films, the characters have been in the foreground. “Capote” examined the life of a lost and broken man just as he was reaching the height of his fame. With “Moneyball,” he took a book that did not seem fit for a narrative film and made one of last year’s best movies. He could definitely handle the complex relationships of the series.

Cons: He’s Busy

Since finishing “Capote,” Miller has tried to get a film called “Foxcatcher” off the ground. It would follow the true story of a paranoid millionaire who murdered an Olympic wrestler. Channing Tatum and Steve Carell have been on board since the fall, and Mark Ruffalo joined the film earlier this week. If Miller gets the job on “Catching Fire,”
“Foxcatcher” would inevitably be put on the back burner once again.

Francis Lawrence

Background: Music Videos

Lawrence began his career making quite the name for himself as a music video director. His work includes clips for “Waiting for Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez and “I’m a Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears.

Big Break: “Constantine” His first feature was the comic book adaptation “Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves as a supernatural detective.

What You Probably Know Him From: “ href="http://www.mtv.com/movies/movie/285141/moviemain.jhtml">I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants” Lawrence helmed the half-a-billion-dollar Will Smith vehicle “I Am Legend.” It was a huge hit at the box office and the second-biggest film of Smith’s career. The director’s most recent film was the Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson romance “Water for Elephants.”

Pros: Style and Action

Lawrence’s background directing music videos helped him establish a particular look for his work, and since most of his films have been action movies, taking on the stunts for “Catching Fire” wouldn’t be a problem.

Cons: Track Record

Of all the directors mentioned so far as candidates for the “Catching Fire” job, Lawrence has the least impressive résumé. Every other director has earned Oscar nominations for their films or the actors in them.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

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Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.