Francis Lawrence Is Finally CATCHING FIRE!!
The Kidd here...
This piece of info is absolutely a few days old, and, if it wasn't for making sure I was present for the birth of my new baby girl, I absolutely would have been on top of this as soon as it broke. Better late than never though, so let's discuss Francis Lawrence being picked to succeed Gary Ross in THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy as the director of CATCHING FIRE.
The Hollywood Reporter landed the scoop, as the decision for Lionsgate came down to Lawrence and Bennett Miller (MONEYBALL). However, that choice was no choice at all with a small window for production existing before 20th Century Fox takes Jennifer Lawrence back for the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS sequel which is scheduled to start shooting in January. Miller has been working to get his film FOXCATCHER before cameras for some time now, and with Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum all set for the project and its December start date, that really took Miller out of the running, making Lawrence the pick sort of by default. There were a few other names bandied about, but none that were as seriously considered as Lawrence.
I know conventional wisdom says I should be disappointed in Lawrence landing the gig here, and, at first glance I was a little bit. There's nothing about CONSTANTINE that says he should be capable of a solid HUNGER GAMES outing, and, for as good as the first half of I AM LEGEND was, it was the atrocious second half that ruined the film for me. I actually enjoyed WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, so he's got that going for him. But there was this expectation that the next chapter of THE HUNGER GAMES not only should have a more established, more proven, big name director, but that it deserved it. The fans should receive nothing less than the best for the continuation of their realization of Panem. They got Gary Ross the first time, so, if he's departing, they should get someone equal to, if not better than him.
I may be in the minority here, but I wasn't a fan of Ross' work on the first film... and I think his previous movies worked against him in some respects. PLEASANTVILLE and SEABISCUIT are excellent films, and, as a result, excellence was expected on his latest outing... not shaky cams and a watered-down story. THE HUNGER GAMES was yet another example, in my opinion, of a movie adaptation that failed to live up to the greatness of its source material... and Gary Ross may not have been the only reason, but he was a part of it.
It may sound like a warped perspective, but perhaps Lawrence is the directorial choice to now sneak up on us. There is nothing about his filmography that dictates he has greatness in him for CATCHING FIRE, and maybe it's better that way. Sure, it'd be nice to have a director behind the camera who we've already seen make solid films, but that didn't necessarily work out for the best the first time around (anyone could have turned THE HUNGER GAMES into the box office monster it's become), so why not try something different? After all, you're not exactly expecting a masterpiece from Francis Lawrence, so... now that your expectations have been lowered due to his involvement, CATCHING FIRE may wind up surprising you. Simon Beaufoy's script will go a long way towards making that happen, but really Lawrence is in a pretty enviable position. In fact he can't lose with CATCHING FIRE, as far as I'm concerned. If the movie winds up sucking (by our standards, certainly not by the piles of money it's going to make), we're all just going to dismiss it as a movie made by Francis Lawrence. What else did you expect? But if it turns out to be pretty good, he's just done wonders for his career by doing THE HUNGER GAMES the right way.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
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April 23, 2012, 12:29 a.m. CST
Please, for the love of Pete!
April 23, 2012, 12:30 a.m. CST
These things have a built in audience of shitheads. that
April 23, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST
Of course that wouldn't make me think he's the guy for Catching Fire. Gaga would make a good Capitol resident though.
April 23, 2012, 12:37 a.m. CST
There's nothing about CONSTANTINE that says he should be capable of a solid HUNGER GAMES outing, and, for as good as the first half of I AM LEGEND was, it was the atrocious second half that ruined the film for me
April 23, 2012, 12:39 a.m. CST
by Andrew Coleman
He'll be ayight. I just hope they listen... NO FUCKING SHAKY CAM.
April 23, 2012, 12:39 a.m. CST
I must admit, it seems they could get a carrot to direct Catching Fire, and it'd do even better than the first. Not only that, I'd venture that 90% of the fanbase for this series have absolutely zero clue who any of the possible directors were, or what each might have brought to the franchise. Oh well, I'll still be seeing it. And will be one of the few who know his name before the credits roll.
April 23, 2012, 12:39 a.m. CST
by Troels Jacob Hundtofte
I'm gonna try again. Francis Lawrence didn't write I am Legend. he directed it. I am Legend was bad because of story choices, not its direction.
April 23, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST
Dear Hollywood, STOP WITH THE HORRIBLE FUCKING CARTOON CGI, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST. Thank you, A Formerly Frequent Moviewatcher
April 23, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST
fuck everything else
April 23, 2012, 12:43 a.m. CST
Yah man. What the fuck.
April 23, 2012, 12:44 a.m. CST
...but for his great work as director on "Kings" and other television series.
April 23, 2012, 12:56 a.m. CST
by Turd Furgeson
It reeked of studio interference, the cgi vampires were awful, and the 3rd act went off the rails but I thought Lawrence got a great performance out of Wil Smith... I think he'll nail this one..
April 23, 2012, 12:57 a.m. CST
by The Infamous Billy The Kidd
Thank you very much, man.
April 23, 2012, 1:01 a.m. CST
by Henry Fool
"Catching Fire" just isn't as good a book as 'The Hunger Games", which is a pretty good book but nothing great. It will be a mediocre adaptation of a mediocre follow-up (with some memorable moments) directed by a mediocre director replacing a really good one.<br /> <br /> I want Ross to move onto another fantasy cut from the same tree as "Pleasantville". I love that movie.
April 23, 2012, 1:16 a.m. CST
by the Green Gargantua
seriously, who gives a shit?
April 23, 2012, 1:36 a.m. CST
i never read the books it was based on, so, maybe i would feel differently if i had. it's one of my favorite genre films. i am glad Lawrence got this gig because it will be a big blockbuster for him i do have to say that calling Hunger Games books source material that deserves ANYTHING but mediocre is laughable
April 23, 2012, 1:46 a.m. CST
by DAS JANKE
I AM LEGEND is a turd through and through. i've just lost a little more respect for this site.
April 23, 2012, 2:02 a.m. CST
The direction was great, all the way through. But the weightless cartoon vampire things, and the awful ending, just killed it. Movie should have been the science fiction equivelent of Castaway. Instead it just collapsed on its own senselessness and awful looking antagonists. Anyway, congrats on the little girl Kidd. Hope mother and child are doing well.
April 23, 2012, 2:05 a.m. CST
at least if you are not an 8th grade girl. I assumed the Kidd was a guy but could be wrong
April 23, 2012, 2:07 a.m. CST
"Dear Hollywood". Why don't you go to boxofficemojo.com and look up how much I Am Legend made worldwide. They don't make movies to make them good..that's not the goal.
April 23, 2012, 2:09 a.m. CST
Yes I'm glad you said that. I tried to listen to the audiobook for the Hunger Games but it was written on a 6th grade level and just absurd and filled with plot holes...can't understand why this is so popular.....oh yeah, I forgot..people are stupid.
April 23, 2012, 2:12 a.m. CST
April 23, 2012, 2:23 a.m. CST
by The Infamous Billy The Kidd
Thank you both very much. Everyone is doing great.
April 23, 2012, 2:34 a.m. CST
by Adriane Heimann
Filled with cliches and bad acting (not including Christoph Waltz).
April 23, 2012, 3:04 a.m. CST
by DAS JANKE
constantine is absolutely brilliant. doesn't matter if alan "overrated" moore's character is significantly different. obviously no comic film is going to be one hundred percent faithful to the source material. it's a film, whereas the text is, well, a text. and it used several plot points from the comics, thanks for trying. lulz @ ragging on a young adult book.
April 23, 2012, 3:11 a.m. CST
...so we might be surprised. Huh? If lowered expectations are such a great thing, then why not go to Hollywood Film School and hand the franchise over to a first year student that never directed a thing? Our expectations would really be lowered then. And lowered expectations don't make a better movie, it just makes the subjective experience different from your point of view. For example, from now on when I see "Billy the Kid" as the writer of an article, my expectations will be extremely lowered. That won't make your writing any better, or your articles any better, but it will just make me shrug and move on instead of posting how I thought what you said was so stupid.
April 23, 2012, 3:25 a.m. CST
Seems fair enough. Can't believe twilight and Hunger Games are talked about seriously here. What's happened to this place?
April 23, 2012, 3:32 a.m. CST
I'm sure he learned an important lesson from that and besides I Am Legend was still a pretty good movie regardless.
April 23, 2012, 3:34 a.m. CST
April 23, 2012, 3:45 a.m. CST
"KINGS" being NBC's fairly brilliant yet shortlived, underseen and underappreciated alt-universe-biblical-allegory-sci-fi-drama. I guarentee Francis Lawrence will fix much of what ailed Gary Ross' uninspired first installment and will easily be twice as good on every conceivable level but not least of which on the visual aesthetic end. Now you all can go back to stirring crazy amongst yourselves. I've done my duty to inform you ignoramuses of the absolute factual truth which you can now choose to deny at your own peril, but I'm not sticking around for more glib nonsense from the likes of you bunch. I'm out!
April 23, 2012, 5:14 a.m. CST
No thought to the future when making that movie. No one there to say, "You know what, these vamps look shit now, in 10 years they'll look like an ATARI game."
April 23, 2012, 5:46 a.m. CST
Sorry but Ross did not do the movie justice, i think just based on the book alone the movie did surprisingly well! I'm actually shocked for such a crap-tastically 2-dimensional script it made millions! I'm looking forward to what this new director will bring, i'm very excited now! -Rex
April 23, 2012, 5:50 a.m. CST
Seriously, did you really think that the likes of David Cronenberg, Bennett Miller and Alfonso Cuaron would get involved in a B-grade tween franchise? That's kind of like expecting us to believe that Terrence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola and Paul Thomas Anderson were seriously considering directing Saw 8. All is right in the world. Francis Lawrence is exactly where he belongs.
April 23, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST
This is very good news. I love Constantine. Never really understood the hate toward it....
April 23, 2012, 6:35 a.m. CST
by Prior Walter
I loved the books, but the first movie was done so horrendously, it's tainted any of the movies that come after. I'm guess it wasn't Ross who decided to treat the Games like a Quidditch match with a running commentary and all of those "behind the scenes" moments. What a good way to undercut the tension and never let us see the true terror of living in the arena for those few weeks. Certainly that was needed to really understand all that happens after. But since we didn't get any of that, and since Catching Fire is being written by the same people I'm assuming, this project is a lost cause.
April 23, 2012, 7:06 a.m. CST
The books are beyond moronic and written on a 6th grade level. If you are on that level, I sort of pity you but no one is perfect I guess.
April 23, 2012, 7:07 a.m. CST
April 23, 2012, 7:15 a.m. CST
I just hope they address the shaky cam business in the next one. A comic on the subject: http://www.cinemabums.com/?p=318
April 23, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST
by Johnny Wrong
...if I hear one more moan about "shaky cam" on this site, the idiot doing the moaning will have real-life "shaky cam" vision from that day forth. Really, get a grip, you tool. Said technique worked fine in the film, as it has done in many others. If you can't handle it, call the Waaaaahmulance. And the "watered-down story" certainly hasn't displeased the majority of the books fans, who class it as a great job. So basically, piss off. This site got worse the minute you joined it's ranks.
April 23, 2012, 7:57 a.m. CST
by Erik Radvon
Wasn't it just last week when people were throwing around names like David Lynch and Terry Gilliam as the "likely" director of Hunger Games II? LMFAO a real director wouldn't touch this in a million years.The director of Constantine seems much more in-line with he quality of this franchise.
April 23, 2012, 8:03 a.m. CST
Congrats on the family addition! Nothing like bambinos to make it all worthwhile! And, I admire the time you took to spend with the family. Believe me, those days are irreplaceable. I know from missed experience. As for Catching Fire, I sincerely hope that Lawrence can pull it off. I was OK with the editorial choices of Hunger Games, but not so much with shaky cam. It was annoying. Another contention was the story of Rue, which I felt was given short shrift. Anyway, I'm hoping for more with Catching Fire. They are trying to RUSH into a release date...and that is usually a recipe for disaster. Let's hope it's NOT in this case. Anyway, all the best to Lawrence and the franchise. I am on board!
April 23, 2012, 8:19 a.m. CST
April 23, 2012, 8:28 a.m. CST
It probably was already discussed, but creatively, I'd bet anything that the shaky cam was due solely for the purpose of aiming for a PG-13 rating. My wife complained about it, but then once I looked at it, most of the annoying shaky parts were the violent scenes. I really don't think that was what Ross would have done if ratings didn't matter. With out the "shake", the scenes would have been even more watered down then they already were. I would argue that the shaky look to the film is just to balance it out. You really couldn't have only the violent parts like that and the rest steady. It wouldn't have the right feel to it. Just my opinion though. Other than that, congrats Mr. The Kidd on having a kidd!
April 23, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST
Am I the only one that knows this to be true? They are probably my two least favorite movies of the last 10 years and I've seen some real shit. Pleasantville was a weepy, overly-sentimental shitfest that took the best qualities of 50's surbaban life and shat all over them for no particular reason whatsoever by attempting to equate this time with that of Nazi Germany. Reese Witherspoon's characater was a shallow, premisicuous cunt that somehow improves this town for the better by fucking the first guy she sees on the first date? Oh I'm sorry it was a "burst of passion." BUllshit. Sure racila segregation was real but that movie went way beyond the bounds of that serious issue and actually did a disservice to it. And Seabiscuit? Jesus H motherfucking Christ that movie was a fucking insult to 99% of the people in the world who don't think they need a god damn rich asshole or a horsey to be their savior. What a bunch of bullshit. That said I liked Ross's Hunger Games. It was surprisingly not shitty. But it also could have used better action. Lawrence is not an idea choice but it might be an improvement. Hard to say.
April 23, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST
April 23, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST
Cant believe I'm saying that about a movie with both Keeanu Reeves AND Shia LaBeuf,but Lawrence directed the shit out of that movie...its dripping with atmosphere and feels like a modern-day film noir comic book movie....exactly how a Hellblazer flick SHOULD be.
April 23, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST
by Judge Briggs
Was looking forward to a sequel for that flick. Fuck shaky camera shots. The first 30 minutes of the movie are unwatchable because of the overuse of the method.
April 23, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST
My name is Suzanne Collins and I have no ideas. How am I gonna come up with a hit novel for teens?? OH! I KNOW!
April 23, 2012, 10:55 a.m. CST
This is the new harry potter for 18 year olds.
April 23, 2012, 11:13 a.m. CST
My four year old daughter is what makes my life worthwhile. I've found true happiness through her. I with nothing but years and years of happiness for you and your family.
April 23, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST
I was actually impressed by how much Francis Lawrence managed to fuck up that story and tell it completely wrong. Terrible casting, terrible direction, terrible set design…it was just so off. I'm being snobby because I liked the book, but they just ruined it. Francis Lawrence has no business adapting anyones books if that is any indication of what he can do. Water for Elephants should have been a romantic slam dunk. Insetad it was soggy garbage.
April 23, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST
Nah, seriously. Congrats. Glad all is well.
April 23, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST
Still does. I really liked that movie, could have even gone for a sequel. But whoever made the decision to leave his hair dark needed to find a new job. There's been so many writers on that book over the years that the tone worked for me because it felt like a combination of a lot of different stories/times. But in ALL OF THEM his appearance is made very clear, and the movie got that wrong. I still like it, though.
April 23, 2012, 12:51 p.m. CST
I remember liking it the first time, but I watched it recently and found it dull. Not bad, but not great. Keanu Reeves is like the Total of actors.
April 23, 2012, 1:05 p.m. CST
by Andrew Coleman
Feels a little off. The "only 13 year old girls" should like it thing. I'm sorry I can get saying "Hunger Games sucks" and then having a valid opinion behind it... But stuff like that makes me think some of you are just bitter. Either because when you were a teen you got beat up and rejected by girls... Or you literally couldn't find a date to the Hunger Games but all these teens can. If you've read or seen the movie you know it's not like Twilight... The comparison doesn't make sense.
April 23, 2012, 1:12 p.m. CST
Again with the "Shakey-Cam" criticisms? No offense, but I feel like this has become the easy to go to, no real effort required criticism du jour. The only scene in HUNGER GAMES that stuck with me as a "shakey cam" moment was (SPOILERS) the chaotic start of the games. Was "shakey cam" employed there to mask some of the violence, thus helping the movie keep a PG-13 rating? Maybe so. But for me, it worked - it helped capture, and accentuate, the crazy, chaotic, scary, out-of-control frenzy. I found it to be effective and smart, in that situation. Were there other shakey-cam moments? If you say so, I can't argue, but I don't recall any offhand, and I certainly didn't walk out of that movie thinking - for good OR ill - "Wow, a lot of shakey-cam there". This wasn't "BATTLE: LA" or "Cloverfield". The action wasn't as jumbled and hard to follow as it was in, say, the second TRANSFORMERS movie, or even the first Nolan BATMAN movie. So I really have a hard time believing that the few minutes of shakey-cam footage were SO offputting that they made a major impression. Just IMHO.
April 23, 2012, 1:38 p.m. CST
by Judge Briggs
The first 20 mins of the movie are atrocious with shaky camera shots. It was brutal! This is the first time I have ever complained about he shaky camera too ... I didn't notice it in Cloverfield because it was shot as found footage flick. Sure, Greengrass does it with his films but you can still tell wtf is going on. The use of shaky camera just didn't make sense in this movie and Ross certainly proved himself not to be Greengrass!
April 23, 2012, 1:50 p.m. CST
You are manipulated into rooting against them.
April 23, 2012, 1:59 p.m. CST
Billy doesn't have to TL;DR his post on this when he's just repeating what worstpreviews/screenrant/comingsoon.net/joblo/ew.com/e.com/every other movie site reported on THURSDAY AROUND NOON when the story broke. It would take all but 5 minutes from your smartphone or tablet or laptop which i'm sure you have 1 or more of to post 2 paragraphs about it. No one needs or gives a shit about your opinion on Francis Lawrence directing the movie when you truly don't really give a shit who directs it anyways. It's great that you had a baby, that's fantastic. But using that as an excuse on posting this story 5 days late is not acceptable. Someone else can post about it as well if you're caught up being Kevin Bacon for 5 days.
April 23, 2012, 3:28 p.m. CST
by The Infamous Billy The Kidd
Thank you all very much.
April 23, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST
You're really only going to get positivity coming out of my posts. I don't really understand the people who have the time to post that a film is absolute shit. I've got better things to do. I thoroughly enjoyed both Constantine and I Am Legend, so this is good news to me.
April 23, 2012, 7:17 p.m. CST
Well, at least I can still read the book. If you liked "I Am Legend" you liked it because of the original writers, Will Smith, and the production and design team behind the cool looking post apocalyptic New York. Lawrence is the one that came in and ruined it with the absolute bullshit ending and story re-writes. If you didn't know, the book has a much more sci-fi, and appropriately much cooler ending that was ditched for Lawrence's bullshit. At least I can save myself a few hours and some money now.
April 23, 2012, 10:11 p.m. CST
Then GO FUCK YOURSELF!
April 24, 2012, 12:22 a.m. CST
it's shocking to me that this website thinks anyone is beneath directing a fucking Hunger Games movie. I feel like I must be from outer space. Twilight is a joke but Hunger Games is so amazing? It's the same shit. One part Twilight, one part Battle Royale, one part a grab bag of archaic sci fi cliches: The Hunger Games. And yes, I know it's not original to make the Battle Royale comparison. I would say I'm not going for originality here so much as accuracy. Top it all off with weightless violence, exceedingly poorly constructed stories, a message which is the opposite of what the author thinks it is, an Inspector Gadget of a main character, a little grrrrrl power growl, and you have the laughably dismissable shitfest that is this book series. Any competent director can only improve the material.
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