Francis Lawrence Chosen To Direct ‘Hunger Games’ Sequel

Gary Ross has left Panem, but a new face for the rebellion has been selected: none other than filmmaker Francis Lawrence.

The “I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants” director has been tapped by Lionsgate to direct their upcoming “Hunger Games” sequel, “Catching Fire.” Lawrence wins the hotly coveted job over an incredible assortment of industry vets including “Moneyball” director Bennett Miller, “Children of Men” director Alfonso Cuaron, and so on. He’s not necessarily my favorite pick for the job — I still maintain that a Steven Soderbergh-directed “Catching Fire” would be out-of-control levels of awesome — but it’s nice to see the project moving forward all the same.

Now Lawrence has the difficult task of adapting the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ series for the big screen. It’s no small feat for any director: “Catching Fire” is a very different story than “Hunger Games,” one that’s certainly not as easily adaptable. The action isn’t so heavy throughout the piece, the mood is (if you can believe it) even darker, and there are, eventually, some scenes that are going to require even more budget and creativity than the first “Hunger Games” movie. With the studio banking on shooting as soon as this summer, Lawrence and his team are going to have their work more than cut out for them in making sure Katniss’ second trip to cinemas is just as worthwhile as the first.

Before the final decision was announced, we debated which director — Miller or Lawrence — would be the best man for the “Catching Fire” gig on this week’s Talk Nerdy. See what we had to say in the video below.

Tell us what you think of Lawrence as the “Catching Fire” director in the comments or on Twitter!