With director Gary Ross officially out of the running to direct Catching Fire, the second film in the Hunger Games series, Lionsgate is on the prowl for a new filmmaker to take over the fledgling franchise. The names currently on their wishlist may surprise you.
According to the LA Times, the shortlist of potential filmmakers the studio wants is comprised of seven or eight names – all men. We haven’t seen the whole list, but the three names that have everyone buzzing currently are David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. If you’d held a gun to our head and forced us to guess who might direct the next film in the series, we wouldn’t have picked Cronenberg or Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu in a hundred years…
While the choices seem sort of strange for a mainstream blockbuster based on a popular series of young adult books, Lionsgate is trying to keep author Suzanne Collins happy. Collins is more devoted to creating a series of great films than she is staggering box office success, and wants a director who’s on the same page.
Of the three, Cuaron makes the most sense -- if only because he has experience with this sort of situation. The Children of Men director helmed the third film in the Harry Potter series, so he’s familiar with adapting this type of material and coming into a franchise after it’s already underway.
Cronenberg, meanwhile, has been offered countless big films over the years (including Return of the Jedi), but has shied away from those gigs in order to keep making features (many in the horror genre) that appeal to him. He’s had mainstream success (The Fly remake, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises), but we’d be shocked if he took this job. We love Cronenberg and wish him tons of success, but we can’t really see him directing this feature.
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu is arguably the most intriguing choice. Innaritu’s work (Babel and Biutiful) seem darker and heavier than what The Hunger Games brings to the table, but working on Catching Fire would reunite him with his Babel producer Jon Kilik. Never underestimate the power of previous relationships when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood.
We’d be thrilled if any of these three filmmakers signed up to helm Catching Fire – but we suspect we’ll hear more names being bandied about before an official decision is made. The Hunger Games has become a huge deal – and Lionsgate and Collins want to make the right choice before moving forward. They’ll have to think fast, though – especially if they intend to start shooting a sequel by this August.