‘Hunger Games’ Studio Taps Francis Lawrence To Direct ‘Catching Fire’

Director behind 'Water for Elephants' and classic music videos is set to take over for Gary Ross.

Just last week, the “Hunger Games” fandom was sent into a bit of a tailspin when director Gary Ross announced he would not direct the film’s sequel, “Catching Fire.”

Jaws dropped, heads were scratched and new names were thrown out and analyzed. Now, it appears Francis Lawrence will be stepping into Ross’ shoes to direct the highly anticipated sequel to the record-breaking first film.

According to a very brief report from Deadline, Lionsgate has decided to go with Lawrence over “Moneyball” helmer Bennett Miller, the other recently rumored Ross replacement. There is no official word from the studio about the done deal, but by all appearances, they have found their man.

For those not familiar with Lawrence’s résumé, the “Water for Elephants” and “I Am Legend” director got his start in music videos. Go and rewatch his clips for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Jennifer Lopez’s “Waiting for Tonight” and Britney Spears’ snake-wielding in “I’m a Slave 4 U” for examples.

Lawrence’s first big feature film was the 2005 DC Comics adaptation “Constantine”; the Keanu Reeves starrer was met with a lukewarm reception from critics. His next films — “I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants” — were much better performers, in addition to being stylistically appealing and action-packed in different ways.

Given his previous work with action and highly stylized music videos, Lawrence is a fine choice and should be right at home in adapting the visually intense and dramatic second book in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy. And as MTV’s Amy Wilkinson pointed out in this week’s Hobnobbing, we should all be happy that they’re making the second film in the first place and that the principal castmembers are already locked in to reprise their roles.

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

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