Update: Gary Ross is resuming negotiations with Lionsgate, having just returned from a vacation in Italy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While it is not at all certain that he will direct “Catching Fire,” the second “Hunger Games” film, the door is not yet closed.
Despite the critical and financial success of “The Hunger Games,” director Gary Ross is reportedly opting out of the sequel.
Original post: Indiewire’s Playlist has confirmed that Ross gave his notice to Lionsgate and Summit earlier this week and won’t be helming “Catching Fire,” the second chapter in the Katniss Everdeen saga. Money was part of the issue (apparently the studio wasn’t offering Ross enough) but Playlist also notes that “we’re told the burning desire simply isn’t there to spend another couple of years with Katniss in the Capitol.”
This is a shame, because Ross did a fine job with the first Tribute tale. But one person’s passed opportunity is another person’s job opening. Which raises the question: Who should direct “Catching Fire” now that Ross has stepped aside?
Here are three suggestions.
1. Alfonso Cuaron
Some commenters at Vulture already have proposed this and it’s a brilliant idea. Cuaron is incredibly skilled at placing his audiences in the center of perilous action sequences (“Children of Men”) and has some experience adapting beloved young adult novels as well (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”). He would be perfect.
2. Debra Granik
Clearly major Hollywood tentpole releases are not Granik’s usual thing. But that only makes her a more interesting prospect. I’d love to see how her indie eye would view the “Catching Fire” arena, as well as the unrest in the Capitol. Plus, Granik has a way with female protagonists (see “Down to the Bone” and “Winter’s Bone”); given her work with Jennifer Lawrence on that latter film, she’d already have a nice shorthand with her Katniss.
3. Frank Darabont
He may be a bit busy with his new series, “L.A. Noir.” But assuming he could make time in his schedule, the former executive producer of “Walking Dead” and director of films like “The Mist” and “The Shawshank Redemption” has a flair for capturing the humanity in life-or-death situations.
Bonus suggestion: The people who made “The Hipster Games.”
Okay, I’m mostly kidding. But I do really like the part where Hipster Peeta opts to snag an old Talking Heads album instead of multiple bottles of water.
So of these options, which director do you prefer? Got another idea? By all means, share it by posting a comment.