Lionsgate on the Hunt for New Director for Two-Part Finale THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY

     July 17, 2012

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In this age of back-to-back-to-back feature film adaptations of books in a series, it’s nearly impossible to keep the same director onboard throughout the franchise’s run.  Director David Yates was up to that Herculean task on the last 4 (or 3, however you count the last book) installments of the Harry Potter franchise, but that meant that he was having to prep the next film while still in production or post-production on the previous film.

The Twilight series has had a different director for each book adaptation, and now it looks like Lionsgate/Summit is planning on taking the same route with The Hunger Games, as they’re currently looking for a director to helm the final book in the series, Mockingjay.  Hit the jump for more.

jennifer-lawrence-the-hunger-games-mockingjayDirector Gary Ross—who deserves a great deal of credit with regards to the smashing success of The Hunger Gamesdeclined to return for the next film, Catching Fire, because Lionsgate was chasing a November 2013 release date and needed to start production quickly.  Ross felt that this wasn’t enough time for him to prep the film properly, and Francis Lawrence was then hired on to take the helm for Catching Fire.  Though the pic hasn’t even started filming yet, Lionsgate is already on the hunt for a director for the next installment after Catching Fire.

Just last week, the studio set 2014/2015 release dates for its two-film adaptation of Mockingjay.  Now Anne Thompson reports (via /Film) “Summit’s Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, producers Nina Jacobson and author Suzanne Collins are currently vetting the right directors for the last two Mockingjay films.”  It’s not an entirely surprising move, as Lawrence likely won’t be finished with post-production on Catching Fire until late next summer, which is when production on Mockingjay Part 1 needs to begin in order to hit that November 2014 release date.  Still, it’s discouraging to see that studios find talent expendable in lieu of making an “as soon as humanly possible” release date that capitalizes on the franchise’s popularity.

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-jennifer-lawrenceIt’s not specified whether Lionsgate is looking at a separate director for each Mockingjay half or if they’re setting one director for the whole thing, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they set up two separate productions.  No word on exactly who the producers are looking at as potential directors, but when we reported that Lawrence won the Catching Fire directing gig, but Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Babel), Duncan Jones (Moon), and Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) were apparently also considered.

Jones and Fukunaga have moved on to other projects (which is a shame since Fukunaga would have made an excellent fit for this series), but I’m sure we’ll have plenty of shortlist stories in the near future regarding which directors are vying for the gig.  I’m not crazy about Lionsgate moving at lightning speed to churn these movies out, but hopefully it all evens out in the wash and we get a swell adaptation that expands and builds upon the story set up in the third and final book without simply translating it—faults and all—onto the screen.

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