This week came with some sad news that Gary Ross, director and co-writer of smash hit The Hunger Games, would not be returning to direct the sequel, Catching Fire, amid reports of money issues and a want to develop other projects. So now Lionsgate’s lucrative property is looking for a new helmsman for the film which already has a November 2013 release date and a Fall filming schedule.
In speaking to an anonymous source, LA Times discovered three names that the Lionsgate is looking at to direct their upcoming film. The three directors in question are David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Apparently these directors not only have to live up to Lionsgate’s standards but also the trilogy’s author and screenwriter Suzanne Collins’ standards.
Here’s what the studio is looking for in a director.
[someone] who is much more interested in quality filmmaking than box-office prowess. This director also needs to have an even keel; no petulant crybabies allowed. The studio wants to get the sequel, Catching Fire into production by August, and the task will require someone who can wrangle a large ensemble of actors, juggle the demands of a swift schedule and collaborate on a script with Collins and writer Simon Beaufoy.
All of these criteria could be applied to all three directors as all are very used to these kinds of demands. That being said, Cronenberg at face value seems the least likely choice. He does have previous history with Lionsgate as he was attached to American Psycho at one point and he also bowed out of the original Total Recall after a long development. He also isn’t a man for commercial book to film transfers, he favors more obscure choices such as Naked Lunch and his upcoming Don DeLillo adaptation Cosmopolis, where he would have a larger creative control. I would love to see how he would tackle a film for teenagers but personally I can’t see it happening.
Same goes for Inarritu, his filmography has tended to favour original projects that tonally do not chime with box office succes. That being said, his downbeat, rough and ready sensibility that came through in his earlier, less pretentious works like Amores Perros could prove a good match for the world of The Hunger Games. However, I can’t see him complying very much with Suzanne Collins’ vision, he’s a strong creative force and fell out with his screenwriting collaborator Guillermo Arriaga on numerous occasions. That much authorial involvement may not be to his taste, and for that reason I can’t see him signing on.
For Alfonso Cuaron however, this is almost perfect. This wouldn’t be the first time Cuaron would come into a pre-established franchise and make his own mark on it. When he signed to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he made it a creative, exciting instalment fitting in very warmly with the franchise, the actors and J.K. Rowling. In interviews, many of the crew and the cast note their experience with Cuaron as their best experience across the 8 films. Again like Inarritu, his rough and ready, handheld sensibility would fit very neatly into the world that Gary Ross established but it would also take it further.
The only snag for him would be that he has Gravity coming up in November and he will likely be working hard at perfecting and tweaking it right until then. Unless he has that in the can already, the scheduling could be a big problem for Cuaron. Though, if it’s nearing completion… who knows?
Anyways, Lionsgate will continue its search and considering the start date for Catching Fire is very soon, we will likely hear an announcement in the next few weeks.
The Hunger Games is currently playing in theatres worldwide and Catching Fire is set for release November next year.