Lionsgate has made it official — Francis Lawrence will indeed direct the second part of their “Hunger Games” franchise, “Catching Fire”. The “I am Legend” and “Constantine” director boards the series after director Gary Ross jumped ship.
Here’s the official word:
“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.
“From the very beginning of this brilliant trilogy’s journey from page to screen, our first priority has been to stay true to the heart and soul of Suzanne Collins’ powerful stories. From my first conversation with Francis, I knew he would make a great partner for both me and Suzanne. His passion for Catching Fire and inspired ideas for a faithful adaptation make him the perfect director for this movie. I know this will be a wonderful collaboration and I cannot wait to get started,” echoed producer Nina Jacobson.
Said Francis, “It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring Catching Fire, the second chapter of Suzanne’s beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can’t wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved.”
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, along with co-stars Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson are all expected back to reprise their roles from the first movie.
The sequel also introduces a slew of new characters as the world of Panem opens up as the seeds of rebellion grows (and a return to a bigger and more dangerous Arena awaits), so expect those to start coming out as the film gears up for production later this year for a 2013 release.