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Just hours after it was first reported that Lionsgate was considering either Francis Lawrence or Bennett Miller to direct Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins’ sequel to The Hunger Games, it was reported that the studio has offered the job to Lawrence.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story on Thursday, just before the studio planned to make its offer to the I Am Legend director. Sources for the publication said that the studio was set to make a formal offer, allowing him to replace Seabiscuit director Gary Ross, who backed out of the project last week.
Earlier Thursday, news broke that Lionsgate was considering Miller and Lawrence, who is not related to actress Jennifer Lawrence. Miller, who directed last year’s critically-acclaimed Moneyball, was likely not available due to his Foxcatcher project that he has been working on for years.
Lionsgate likely chose Lawrence because of his experience with large-scale, effects-heavy films, which Catching Fire is likely to be. Lawrence, who got his start directing music videos, is known for directing 2005’s Constantine and 2007’s I Am Legend with Will Smith. In 2011, he directed Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in Water for Elephants.
Lionsgate had to pick a director to replace Ross as soon as possible, since they hope to start production this fall to have Catching Fire ready for release on Nov. 22, 2013. The studio also has to fit the film into Jennifer Lawrence’s tight schedule, as the actress will also be working on a sequel to X-Men: First Class.