Francis Lawrence to Direct ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2′

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 7th, 2014 at 11:28 am,

 Francis Lawrence to Direct The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2

Much like the final novels in the Harry Potter and Twilight series, the conclusion to author Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games book trilogy Mockingjay is being stretched out into two separate films. The task of scripting both movies has fallen to Emmy-winner Danny Strong (Game Change), who’s now become the latest in a string of decorated screenwriters to contribute to this young adult franchise – following in the footsteps of Hunger Games director Gary Ross, Billy Ray (Shattered Glass), Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours), and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3).

However, Lionsgate won’t be likewise alternating who sits in the director’s chair on the third and fourth Hunger Games film adaptations – as Francis Lawrence (who is currently filming the second installment, Catching Fire) has been confirmed to return for the two-part Mockingjay.

Catching Fire features surviving Hunger Games players like Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz (among others); however, there are also going to be several new faces appearing onscreen, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, and Sam Claflin. Moreover, Lawrence is collaborating behind-the-camera with such people as director of photography Jo Willems (30 Days of Night, Limitless) and editor Alan Edward Bell (who worked with Lawrence on Water for Elephants and cut this past summer’s Amazing Spider-Man).

That eclectic mix of lauded thespians and cinematic craftsmen can be attributed to one important factor: Lionsgate knows the Hunger Games brand name sells itself. So, from a business standpoint, it makes sense to recruit the best of the best and then carryover the personnel from prior installments into Mockingjay (so long as they have proven reliable, of course). Thus, in the process, Lionsgate maintains a cohesive artistic vision, rather than hiring on an untested filmmaker with a different take on the property (ie. a ‘riskier’ one). Ross was originally supposed to fill that architect position, before he withdrew due to the short turnaround planned between films.

jennifer lawrence hunger games Francis Lawrence to Direct The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2

Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games’

Point being, if Lawrence is locked down to come back for Mockingjay already, that must mean that studio executives approve of how he’s handled the task of bringing the expanding dystopian setting to life in Catching Fire; not to mention, Lawrence’s approach to putting his own spin on the continuing story and universe, without also abandoning all aspects of Ross’ interpretation. Whether or not the Hunger Games fanbase and general audiences will be equally receptive to Lawrence’s work, well… we’ll have an answer to that question when the film opens a year from now.

For those who are curious, here is an official synopsis for the two-part Hunger Games finale:

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PARTS 1 & 2 make up the third and fourth installments of heroine Katniss Everdeen’s journey as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol.  As the war that will determine the fate of Panem escalates, Katniss must decipher for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in regular and IMAX theaters on November 22nd, 2013. Mockingjay – Part 1 releases on November 21st, 2014, while Part 2 opens November 20th, 2015.

Source: Lionsgate

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  1. Why are the comments closed on the Spiderman / Jamie Fox story?

    • Potential racist comments I’m guessing. Although the fact that stating he is black and Electro is white in the comics is not racist.

      • Meh, who cares, electro is rather generic, he can be played by pretty much anybody. Also a black james bond is perfectly fine. Personally though not a big fan of Foxx as an actor.

        • Yeah Foxx just doesn’t seem to have much range to me, when has he ever played a villain anyway? It seems like a really weird casting choice. Personally I would have gone with Walton Goggins, he looks like he has static going through his hair.

    • We wanted to prevent a repeat of what happened with the Idris Elba/Bond news last week.

      Namely, the discussion quickly shifted from being about whether or not Bond’s race is essential to the character, and instead gave rise to a lot of flat-out racist claims and comments.

      • Oh I see, fair enough, too many small minded people out there

        I suppose the actors race shouldn’t really matter, but a character is written a certain way for a reason, with their race often informing or reflecting the characters personality, choices and responses too that character, personally i couldnt imagine a black James Bond anymore than I could imagine a white Blade or a Chinese Superman, these characters were written specifically as they are, I don’t understand why Hollywood changes things, will be interesting to see Laurance Fishburne as Perry White, the same with Jamie Foxx being cast in Kane and Lynch if that ever gets made!

        Oh well onwards and upwards, meh to hunger games lol

      • You see, that was for an iconic character like James Bond. He has always been adapted in book and on screen as white. Therein lies the potential racism.

        As for Electro, he is not such an “iconic” character. He can be molded to a new vision more reasonably. That’s where I see there is the hole in your reasoning.

        I agree with your principle, but I’m not sure I agree with your reasoning 😉

        In the words of Ron Burgundy himself: “Boy, that escalated quickly!”

      • That’s unfortunate. :(

  2. Looking forward to TASM 2… don’t care if Electro is black… but I also don’t think I necessarily want Foxx to play that role.

    I’m still willing to give it a chance, though.

  3. Is it me or does Francis Lawrence look like an older less attractive Bradley Cooper?

  4. Can someone tell me why is there part 1 and part 2? This book is short, the first hunger games was a good 2 hours. That’s enough time.

    • It’s the scale and nature of the project. Maybe they are planning on adding more to the thinnest, yet most epic book of the series. They may add depth to plot-lines and flesh out certain situations. It could work out very well if they go into it with the right frame of mind

  5. I loved the books. But i’m tired of movies that are book adaptations being split into two films. The book was already really short it doesn’t even break 400 pages. But whatever, I just hope its good and that they don’t shy away from the more violent parts like with the first movie.

  6. I thought the Hunger Games was decent. I’m interested to see how the rest of the series play out :)

  7. Right. 😛

  8. I approve!

  9. i’m sick of all these books being split into two and three movies. it’s just such an obvious ploy for raking in more money. there’s nothing wrong with making more money, but holy christopher enough already. i already see the hobbit being super boring. i’m really not even interested in the rest of the hunger games movies. watch them split the third book into three movies. just watch.

  10. Love the way greed expands these movies to ‘part 1′ and ‘part 2′, Twilight / Harry Potter style. Wring as much money out of the young people who can not afford it as possible, that the name of the game. Still, I thought ‘The Hunger Games’ was terrible so wont be watching Catching Fire or either of these cash grabs. I do like the way the Spiderman section has moved onto this forum tho :)

  11. I cant be the only one who was hoping they would say Jamie Foxx was playing The Shocker…Im sorry but Electro is a pretty lame character…In my humble fanboy opinion.

  12. I am ECSTATIC that Francis Lawrence is staying for the rest of the Hunger Games movies. I just watched it this weekend and he did a fantastic job. He really did justice to the 2nd book. The emotions and tensions were so palpable, and I was moved in many scenes. The action parts did not disappoint either

  13. It’s been said that Mockingjay is Not released in IMAX. Is it????????