A story of left-turn plot twists just as interesting as anything in the film in question, the ongoing saga of who will and who won’t be directing Catching Fire (the sequel to the mega-successful The Hunger Games) looks to have finally reached its conclusion. And, like many endings to epic tales, it can’t quite live up to what came before it, and is something of a letdown.
After news that Hunger Games director Gary Ross was out of the running for Catching Fire, then back in, and finally back out, the hunt was on for a new director, with time being of the essence—Catching Fire is on track for a fall 2013 release, and preproduction has to start soon. A lot of fascinating names were reportedly in the running (even hotshots such as David Cronenberg, and Alejandro González Iñárritu), before, as in the Games themselves, a finalist beat out the competition and emerged from the fray: Francis Lawrence.
To answer the collective “who the hell is that?”: Francis Lawrence is the director of such movies as Constantine, I Am Legend, and Water for Elephants, films that all received middling reviews, and didn’t exactly etch themselves into permanence upon the list of great pop films. And now, the director has been offered the top spot with Catching Fire, and it’s highly likely that he’ll accept.
It’s something of an unfortunate decision for the franchise—while Lawrence is an adept director with a knack for action and nice visuals, his films lack the personality and depth needed to lend Catching Fire any kind of substantive weight. He seems like more of a safe, Brett Ratner-ized choice: he’ll bring the film in on time and on budget, and it will be easy on the eyes. But it probably won’t be much more than that.
What are your thoughts on the Catching Fire director news?