[UPDATE: ‘Constantine Director Francis Lawrence has been offered the Catching Fire director’s chair!]

Though Gary Ross was slated to direct Catching Fire – the sequel to The Hunger Gamesthe director ultimately decided to back off and pursue other projects. This put Lionsgate in the position of finding a new director to the helm the highly-anticipated sequel before it goes into production later this year.

David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu were among ten names being considered by the studio as replacement directors for Catching Fire. Now a report from The Playlist reveals that Lionsgate is also talking to Moneyball director Bennett Miller and Constantine director Francis Lawrence to possibly helm the sequel.

It was highly unlikely that any of three aforementioned names would be helming The Hunger Games sequel. The site even mentions that those directors were all a part of a wishlist. Which begs the question: who were the other seven names Lionsgate was considering to direct the film?

Though the site doesn’t mention if Bennett or Lawrence were a part of that ten name shortlist, they seem like they are more likely to direct the sequel than Cronenberg, Inarritu, or Cuaron. I wonder if Lionsgate’s search extends to the five directors we’d like to see helm Catching Fire.

Miller has already proven that he is worthy director by helming the Academy Award-nominated Capote and Moneyball. But Miller’s scheduled isn’t exactly what you call clear. The director is currently putting together a film called Foxcatcher. Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell are all signed on to appear in the crime drama, based on the life of John Eleuthère DuPont. Shooting is expected to begin in the fall – which also happens to be the time that Lionsgate wants to start filming Catching Fire. So if Bennett is seriously considering directing Catching Fire, he would have to reschedule the shoot for Foxcatcher or leave the project altogether.

This makes Lawrence the more likely candidate to helm Catching Fire. An interesting choice to begin with, Lawrence knows his way around a good action and drama having directed Constantine, I Am Legend, and Water for Elephants. Lawrence has also directed over a 100 music videos for various music artists including Alanis Morissette, Nine Inch Nails, the Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Destiny’s Child.

Lionsgate is likely to make their decision very soon, considering that Catching Fire is expected to start shooting in the fall. Catching Fire is scheduled to open in theaters on November 22, 2013.

Source: The Playlist