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Francis Lawrence has been 100% confirmed by "The Hunger Games" studio Lionsgate as the director taking over "Catching Fire" after Gary Ross' departure, and he's reached out to "Hunger Games" fans to request their input for preparing the film.
In a message posted on the Official "Hunger Games" Facebook Page, he wrote "Hello fellow Hunger Games fans! I just want you all to know how unbelievably excited and honored I am to be a part of Catching Fire. At the end of the day, all of the work that I put in to my movies is for you -- the fans. Make sure to post and let me know what you’re most excited to see in this adaptation as we aim to make something truly faithful and spectacular!"
Lionsgate's press release on the news indicates that the oh-so-troublesome production start date will remain the same, with shooting to begin this fall, and that the release date for "Catching Fire" stands firm at Nov. 22, 2013.
In the release, Lawrence elaborated on his fan note's sentiment, saying "It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring Catching Fire, the second chapter of Suzanne's beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can't wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved."
Producer Nina Jacobson added "From the very beginning of this brilliant trilogy's journey from page to screen, our first priority has been to stay true to the heart and soul of Suzanne Collins' powerful stories. From my first conversation with Francis, I knew he would make a great partner for both me and Suzanne. His passion for Catching Fire and inspired ideas for a faithful adaptation make him the perfect director for this movie. I know this will be a wonderful collaboration and I cannot wait to get started."
Meanwhile, Lionsgate's President of Production Erik Feig stated "Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life."
The press release also confirms the return of "Hunger Games" castmates Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson for the film.