The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire may have a director! Lionsgate confirmed this week Francis Lawrence has been tapped to take the job vacated by Gary Ross, who cited time restraints as the reason for his departure after directing The Hunger Games.
A Lionsgate spokesperson said Lawrence received their offer on Thursday and has not made a final decision. Lawrence, whose previous work includes Water For Elephants and I Am Legend, has not commented.
Ross announced his decision to not direct Catching Fire earlier this month. "Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule," the 55-year-old said in a statement. "And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision."
Lionsgate said it was “very sorry” for Ross’ departure. “We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future,” the company said.
Filming for Catching Fire is set to begin this summer so the November 22, 2013 release date can be met. The Hunger Games, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, has raked in over $340 million in the United States since opening in late March.
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