Jennifer Lawrence in 'the Hunger Games'
Lionsgate is sticking with "Catching Fire" director Frances Lawrence for "Mockingjay Part 1" and "Mockingjay Part 2," choosing consistency over directorial variety for its flagship "Hunger Games" franchise.
Lawrence, who is currently shooting the second movie in the Jennifer Lawrence series, will finish out with the third and fourth films, Lionsgate confirmed in a news release Thursday. The news was first reported by the movie website Collider.
In making that choice, Lionsgate is opting to give the series a consistent look and feel with Lawrence -- best known for directing the Will Smith zombie pic "I Am Legend" -- instead of switching up directors in the manner of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" franchises. Those series did not have one director helming the majority of the pictures.
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By locking in Lawrence, Lionsgate also avoids the drama it faced between the first and second picture in the Suzanne Collins adaptations, when Gary Ross made a very public departure and the studio embarked on a much-publicized mission to replace him.
But in going with Lawrence, Lionsgate has also given the filmmaker a double workload of sorts.
"Catching Fire," which continues the story of Katniss Everdeen's battle to survive in an apocalyptic future, is set to come out in November 2013, with the next two "Mockingjay films to follow in November 2014 and November 2015.
Even if Lawrence shoots the "Mockingjay" films back-to-back, or gets shots from those movies into the "Catching Fire" production, he will be doing double-duty, editing " Catching Fire" while preparing to shoot "Mockingjay." Films with elaborate battle sequences and effects, as these are, require extensive preproduction and postproduction work.
Emmy winner Danny Strong is to write both "Mockingjay" films, which will continue to star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.
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