It's official: Catching Fire has a new director

After the departure of Hunger Games director Gary Ross from the newly minted hit series, Lionsgate quickly developed a short list of directors they'd like to handle the sequel Catching Fire. The list eventually got shorter, and now we officially have a winner.

The studio has now confirmed that Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) is signed on to direct Catching Fire, reportedly beating out Bennett Miller for the gig.

Lawrence obviously has the sci-fi background, and we're interested to see how he handles what has quickly become one of the hottest franchises around.

"Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life," Lionsgate's president of production, Erik Feig, said in a statement.

In a prepared statement, Francis said he is excited to take the reins.

"It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring Catching Fire, the second chapter of Suzanne's beloved trilogy, to the big screen," he said. "I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can't wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved."

(Via ComingSoon.net)

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