‘Hunger Games’ News: Tony Shalhoub For ‘Catching Fire,’ New Director For ‘Mockingjay’?

Good morning, “Hunger Games” fanfolk! We hope you slept well, and woke up fresh and ready to rumor-monger—because “Catching Fire” is afloat on a veritable sea of gossip today. Not only are casting rumors busting out all over (and being discredited almost as fast), but there’s a disturbance in the force regarding the directorial duties for “Hunger Games” films three and four.

First up, Variety reports that Tony Shalhoub—best known for playing the neurotic titular character on “Monk”—is being eyed for the role of Beetee, the electronic whiz whose tech-y skills serve him well when he’s re-reaped for the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell. (They also reported that Melissa Leo was circling the part of Mags, but that rumor went the way of the dodo before we had time to finish typing this sentence. Just as well; she’s way too young.)

And over at Slashfilm, there’s some anticipatory rumbling about yet another directorial shakeup for the franchise; word has it that Francis Lawrence, who will helm “Catching Fire,” may not be available for the two-part finale of “Mockingjay.” Lionsgate is reportedly on the lookout for another auteur to take over movie number three, and might even bring in a fourth director for the final film in the series.

Of course, fans aren’t exactly in a position to mourn the loss of Lawrence —hey, maybe they won’t even like the way he makes “Hunger Games” movies!—but the prospect of a new director on each and every film is an interesting proposition. Even the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” franchises weren’t so bold as to change things up for their two-part finales…but with a natural split in setting and sensibility occurring between the first and second half of “Mockingjay” anyway, it might even make some artistic sense. Discuss!

What do you think of the latest “Hunger Games” rumors? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!