The hunt is on to find a director for “Catching Fire”, the second installment in the “Hunger Games” trilogy, due to director Gary Ross’s departure last week.
A list has leaked naming those under consideration to replace Ross, who exited the project due to time constraints. Among the names on the list, Alfonso Cuaron of “Children of Men” fame, veteran filmmaker David Cronenberg (“A History of Violence”) and “Babel” helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. All very solid choices, but interestingly enough there are no women directors in contention (Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first and best “Twilight” would’ve been a good choice, no!?) to take charge of Katniss’s second stint participating in those Hunger Games. Not to say Lionsgate aren’t considering a female, could just be that these three gentlemen are the top contenders as of today. Also, I don’t know whether the interest is purely on the studio side either; someone like David Cronenberg doesn’t usually get mixed up in big studio franchise fare, preferring to make his own, more intimate semi-art house fare. What’s probably going on here is that the producers have approached the three filmmakers and are waiting to see who bites – and then, who has the best ideas to make “Catching Fire” a solid film. Quite the coup for the film if it can get a Cronenberg or Cuaron attached though, it might even broaden the appeal of the movie.
So, lets look at the three contenders :
Makes excellent, critic-proof movies. His fare usually swims somewhere between arthouse and commercial; his credits include “Dead Ringers”, “The Naked Lunch”, “Eastern Promises”, “A History of Violence”, “Scanners”, “The Dead Zone” and “Spider”. Cronenberg use to get offers to direct blockbusters all the time – “Top Gun” and “Return of the Jedi” were floated his way back in the ’80s – so chances are, unless he’s desperate for cash, he’s also vetoed the idea of directing “Catching Fire”. Cronenberg’s next film is “Cosmopolis” which stars, ironically enough, a lead from the world of fellow teen-fiction turned movie, Robert Pattinson (“Twilight”).
Should it work out, “Catching Fire” would be likely Cronenberg’s most commercial film since 1986’s “The Fly”.
Like Cronenberg, Cuaron is picky but he is open to studio tentpoles and franchise films – if his directing “Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban” is any indication. Cuaron’s other credits include “A Little Princess”, “Great Expectations” and the excellent “Children of Men” with Clive Owen. His latest movie is a big science-fiction film called “Gravity” which stars Sandra Bullock as the lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope who desperately tries to return to Earth and reunite with her daughter.
Might Cuaron be up for another “Harry Potter”-sized payday next?
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
An off-kilter choice, much like the others, Inarritu’s fare is usually considered Oscar bait. The director of “21 Grams” and “Babel” doing “Catching Fire”? It could work, but it doesn’t scream out something he’d choose to do. Having said that, the filmmaker might need one commercial blockbuster to help him push some of his other, more artsy projects further uphill.
All three men would make an excellent movie, but do you “Hunger Games” fans have a preference?