Lionsgate will seek out new director for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Francis Lawrence unlikely to return after Catching Fire

Filming may not have even started on The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, but Lionsgate are already looking for a director to helm the final instalment in the series, Mockingjay, according to reports.

With Gary Ross having stepped down from the franchise on account of the ludicrously tight production schedule imposed by Lionsgate, Francis Lawrence also looks set to fall foul of the studio's insistence that every episode in the saga be completed as quickly as possible.

With only a year between each film's release, Lawrence would likely still be working on post-production for Catching Fire when pre-production on Mockingjay would be due to start. As a result, producer Nina Jacobson is apparently vetting potential replacements in tandem with author Suzanne Collins.

In one respect, it's good that Lionsgate are planning far enough ahead so as not to get caught out like they were with Ross, but it also seems a shame to prioritise release dates so far above getting the right man for the job. If Lawrence turns out to be an excellent fit, it seems a shame not to be able to consider keeping him on, simply because there are deadlines to be hit.

At present, Catching Fire is expected to open in the UK on 22 November 2013, with the two Mockingjay films set for 21 November 2014 and 22 November 2015 respectively. That's forward planning for you...

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