Bennett Miller or Francis Lawrence? Who would you like to see direct 'Catching Fire?'

Ever since Gary Ross declined the director’s chair to helm ‘Catching Fire,’ the much awaited sequel to his blockbuster film ‘The Hunger Games,’ the race to fill his seat has been observed with keen eyes by fans and studio executives alike. Now it looks like Lionsgate has narrowed the list to two possible directors: Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence.

Miller is well known as the director of last year’s big Oscar contender for Best Movie, ‘Moneyball’ as well as for the film ‘Capote’ which also earned him an Oscar nod in the Best Directing category. As for Lawrence (no relation to the star of the film, Jennifer Lawrence), he has a more impressive résumé as he directed ‘Water for Elephants’, the sci-fi flick ‘I Am Legend‘, is currently the executive producer for the FOX series ‘Touch’ and he just wrapped directing the pilot episode of ABC’s ‘Gotham.’

Timing is of the essence in this decision as Jennifer Lawrence needs to be finished filming ‘Catching Fire’ by December 20th in order for her to be free to film ‘X-Men: Origins 2.’ Lionsgate also slated a release date of November 22, 2013 for the movie. In order to make both of these happen, production needs to begin sometime in August.

Both directors have their pros and cons when it comes to this project. While Miller is not as accomplished in the genre, he is able to prominently bring out an actor’s skills and relationships as seen in ‘Moneyball.’ This would be very handy as the sequel does deal with the romantic entaglements between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale that Ross seemed to miss in ‘The Hunger Games.’

Lawrence, however, does have experience in the genre and seems to be able to handle the relationship angle as ‘Water for Elephants’ did win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Drama Movie.

Industry watchers are hedging their bets on Lawrence as the frontrunner mainly because his schedule is open. Miller is reported to be in pre-production on his pet project ‘Foxcatcher’ which he hopes to begin filming in December. Of course, Miller could always push his project back to a later film date if he is offered ‘Catching Fire.’

The decision on a director will be made in the next few days so that pre-production can soon begin. Knowing that Lawrence and Miller are your options, who would you like to see direct ‘Catching Fire?’ Or would you prefer another director all together? Let me know in the comments below!

Source: THR

Update 4/19/2012 9:50pm – Shortly after the news came down the pipeline that the director pool had been narrowed to Miller and Lawrence, THR sent out word that Lionsgate was going to officially offer the director’s chair to Francis Lawrence. So… I guess the argument over which one is a better choice is null and void at this point (unless Lawrence turns down the offer). We’ll post more details as we get them.