After the shock departure of director Gary Ross from the widely successful first installment of The Hunger Games, the question on everyone’s lips was “Who’s going to take over at the helm?!” Judging by the film’s success, there is certainly going to be big shoes to fill and high expectations for whoever comes along next. And that harrowing task is reportedly going to fall on the shoulders of one Francis Lawrence.
Though not Lionsgate’s first choice, the main reason that would attribute to Lawrence landing the gig is his open schedule. As most of us probably know, the star of The Hunger Games – Jennifer Lawrence – is also part of the X-men: First Class franchise and hence she is in hot demand right now, making her schedule really tight! This has of course resulted in shooting schedule conflicts, and thus a compromise was made in which the production of the sequel for X-Men: First Class was pushed back to allow for The Hunger Games sequel to commence first. Therefore, whoever directs Catching Fire will have to be free and available to start shooting soon; and with an open schedule like his, Francis Lawrence is most likely a shoe-in for the role as compared to other contenders who have other plates on their hands.
But if it were up to me, I’d say the risk here for the movie is not about the need to get it rolled out as soon as possible, but rather it’s the rushing that is scary. No matter how good a director you get, if things are rushed through I don’t think that the final product will be any thing near great. With characters that have such strong personalities that define the story, I believe time is essential in fleshing out and capturing the best of their emotions and expressions on film; but with a tight schedule I don’t think anyone would have the time to perfect that. And so just saying, a crap movie will be a crap movie, and one won’t win over the hearts of many with a crap movie – except only probably the super die-hard fans – and that itself can only count for so much. I figure that Catching Fire has alot of anticipation to live up to, so Lionsgate better make this next installment count!
Francis Lawrence was known for his music videos and commercials before moving on to the silver screen and adding to his vast repertoire. Past works include Aerosmith’s – I Dont Want to Miss a Thing, Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi, Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River, Lady Gaga – Bad Romance for the music videos. Films include Constantine (starring Keanu Reeves), I am Legend (starring Will Smith) and Water for Elephants (starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon).