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When Lionsgate cast Jennifer Lawrence as the star of The Hunger Games franchise, 20th Century Fox knew some changes were going to be made in order to keep the in-demand actress for its X-Men: First Class franchise. The two studios finally came to an agreement on Thursday to start working on First Class 2 in January 2013 so that Lawrence can work on The Hunger Games sequel in the fall.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Fox began telling talent agencies that it is delaying production on First Class 2 just to make sure that the studio doesn’t have to re-cast Mystique, the character Lawrence plays. This will allow Lionsgate to begin shooting Catching Fire in August or September as planned.
The tension between the two studios grew out of the fact that Fox can pick up the option on Lawrence’s contract, even if it clashed with The Hunger Games schedule. According to AceShowBiz, Fox cast Lawrence in First Class back in the summer of 2010, months before Lionsgate cast her to play Katniss Everdeen.
First Class was released last summer and featured a large ensemble cast, lead by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Director Matthew Vaughn is already slated to return for the sequel.
The Hunger Games is still dominating the box office, so it has to come as a sigh of relief for Lionsgate that Lawrence will return without issue. However, the studio will next have to begin negotiating with co-writer and director Gary Ross, who only signed on for one film. The studio has already scheduled a Nov. 22, 2013 release for Catching Fire.
image courtesy of Lionsgate