Lawrence, director of I Am Legend and Water for Elephants, is officially set to helm Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Though news broke that Lawrence had been offered the job recently, now the ink is dry, which means it’s definitely on.
“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, in a press release.
In the same release, Lawrence said, “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.”
The first film was directed by Pleasantville director Gary Ross, who declined to direct the sequel. It was previously assumed that he would direct the second installment, but he ultimately declined. Ross is in talks to direct a film about Harry Houdini. Interestingly, Lawrence is reportedly involved in another Houdini project with Columbia Pictures.
Catching Fire will commence shooting in the fall. Stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson will be back, as will virtually every other actor whose character was not brutally killed in the first film.