After weeks of rumors and reports Lionsgate has confirmed that Constantine and I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence will indeed helm Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, this year’s biggest smash (an absurd sounding $602 million worldwide so far). The news first began circulating shortly after Games director Gary Ross absconded from the follow-up, but now the hire is all sorts of official.
Here is what the studio, which is laughing all the way to the bank, had to say:
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,” said Erik Feig, Lionsgate’s President Of Production.
This isn’t a huge shocker since everyone already assumed Lawrence was a done deal, but it does confirm a couple things about Catching Fire. Collins is deeply involved in the adaptations of her books, writing the screenplay to The Hunger Games, and you can continue to expect the films to continue to closely follows the source material.
The cast of the original is all expected to resume their roles. So you’ll be seeing Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and all the rest, as their Panem alter egos again. In addition to those familiar faces, Catching Fire also introduces a slew of new characters, mostly victors from previous Hunger Games, and will make full use of Donald Sutherland’s overwhelming creepiness. Let’s just say that there are moments between President Snow and Katniss that should make for great scenes.
Catching Fire follows on the heels of The Hunger Games, and deals with the aftermath of Katniss’ actions in the arena and the spark of rebellion she ignited across the world of Panem.