CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film News: Francis Lawrence to Direct ‘The Hunger Games’ Sequel ‘Catching Fire’
CHICAGO – “The Hunger Games” fans’ ravenous appetite for more will soon be satisfied as Lionsgate is moving forward with the sequel “Catching Fire.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has chosen Francis Lawrence to direct the anticipated sequel after Gary Ross chose not to return to the franchise. Lawrence’s most recent work includes “I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants.” Stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are expected to return.
The offer has yet to be made official from Lionsgate but is being reported by multiple outlets.
Gary Ross, who directed the first installment of “The Hunger Games,” bowed out from directing the sequel due to the tight time constraints on the production schedule. Ross didn’t feel like he could do his best work saying in a written statement, “As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.”
The Chicago Tribune compares this scenario to the “Twilight” series – coincidentally produced by the Lionsgate subsidiary Summit – saying, “Bringing in a new director to a popular franchise is a tricky proposition.”
Lawrence has yet to make a public comment.
“The Hunger Games” has grossed over $300 million in the U.S. alone and over half a billion dollars worldwide. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci. “Catching Fire” is scheduled to come out in November 2013.
By BRIGID BROWN