‘Mockingjay Part 1′ & ‘Part 2′ Will Film Back-to-Back

On a conference call with analysts, Lionsgate revealed that they plan to shoot Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 back-to-back, meaning one director will helm both films (and it’s believed Lionsgate is already searching for the director).

Although no director has been selected for the two planned films to be adapted from “Mockingjay,” the third book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy, Wachsberger said that the two movies, to be released in November 2014 and 2015, will be shot together.

Because of that, Wachsberger said, “we expect the average budget [for the 'Mockingjay' movies] to be slightly lower than ‘Catching Fire.’” And with lower costs, he added, “profitability should come up with the final two installments.”

You can read the full article at the Los Angeles Times, which includes details about Catching Fire not being expected to make as much money for Lionsgate as The Hunger Games did simply because the production costs will be higher (though they didn’t specific the budget for the sequel).

Filming back-to-back will help cut down on budget costs, ensure consistency and continuity between the final films, help them meet their release dates, and free up the actors’ time to work on other projects.

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Is Lionsgate Already Looking at Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 Directors?

We’re still yet to find out exactly who will be in Catching Fire and the shooting schedule set down for later in the year, but it seems Lionsgate producers are on the look out for the best director – or directors – to take on the Mockingjay movies.

IndieWire is reporting that  Lionsgate, along with author Suzanne Collins and producer Nina Jacobsen are vetting potential candidates.

New Lionsgate movie chiefs, Summit’s Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, producers Nina Jacobson and author Suzanne Collins are currently vetting the right directors for the last two “Mockingjay” films, which are also hurtling into production (for release November 2014 and 2015), too fast for Francis Lawrence to be in charge. The second “Twilight” could have been a better movie had it not been so rushed, but Summit got away with it and laughed all the way to the bank. So they are following the same playbook.

The first of the Mockingjay movies will come out just one year after Catching Fire, making it a tight schedule for Francis Lawrence to be involved. It’s still anyone’s guess if the Mockingjay movies will be filmed at the same time with the same director, or separately, with different people in charge.

Josh Hutcherson on His First Meeting with Francis Lawrence

E! Online caught up with Josh Hutcherson at the MTV Movie Awards tonight and got him to spill the details of his first meeting with Francis Lawrence.

“I sat down with him a couple of days ago,” Hutcherson told me at the MTV Movie Awards. “He’s fantastic. He’s such a smart guy. He has some great ideas for the movie.

“I just really like where his head is at,” he continued. “I really like him a lot.”

Most of their chat focused on Peeta.

“We talked about character development in the stories,” Hutcherson said. “As you know, the second book is more complicated than the first, so we talked about the narrative. Everything he said was super smart.”

We are so excited to hear they are getting ready for Catching Fire!

Getting to Know Francis Lawrence – The Catching Fire Director

While we’ve put the new director for Catching FireFrancis Lawrence under the spotlight, Vanity Fair has put together a list of some interesting information about the new addition to The Hunger Games family.

Here’s a few Francis factoids:

Sign: Aries

Hometown: Los Angeles (after moving from Austria at the age of three)

Film Pedigree: Since graduating from film school at Loyola Marymount, Lawrence has directed three feature films: Constantine (2005), I Am Legend (2007), and Water for Elephants (2011).

Biggest Budget/Box-Office Success: I Am Legend, the Will Smith sci-fi drama, which reportedly had a $150 million budget and grossed more than $585 million worldwide.

Music-Video Career: Before breaking into the film industry, Lawrence directed more than 60 music videos for artists including Justin Timberlake (“Cry Me a River”), Britney Spears (“I’m a Slave 4 U”), Jennifer Lopez (“Jenny from the Block”), and Beyoncé (“Run the World”). In 2011, he won a Grammy for directing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” music video.

We’d like to add that you can also follow him on Twitter but makes sure you check out the rest of his profile  included in the Vanity Fair article here.

Francis Lawrence’s Message to Hunger Games Fans

If you haven’t heard yet, Francis Lawrence has been officially announced as director of Catching Fire. On the The Hunger Games Facebook page, Francis Lawrence has shared this note for the fans:

“Hello fellow Hunger Games fans!  I just want you all to know how unbelievably excited and honored I am to be a part of Catching Fire.  At the end of the day, all of the work that I put in to my movies is for you — the fans. Make sure to post and let me know what you’re most excited to see in this adaptation as we aim to make something truly faithful and spectacular!” – Francis Lawrence

Francis sounds dedicated to bringing a faithful adaptation of the book to the big screen. Are you all as excited as we are?!!

CONFIRMED: Francis Lawrence will be Directing ‘Catching Fire’

Lionsgate has just released confirmation that Francis Lawrence will indeed be the director of ‘The Hunger Games‘ sequel ‘Catching Fire‘.

Lionsgate Francis Lawrence tweet Catching Fire

According to the press release:

SANTA MONICA, CA (May 3, 2012) – LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, announced today that Francis Lawrence has officially signed on to direct CATCHING FIRE, the sequel to THE HUNGER GAMES, based on the second in a series of books by Suzanne Collins that has 36 million copies in circulation in the US alone.  The announcement was made by Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.

Lawrence, who is represented by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment, has experience directing films that make him uniquely suited to handle the blend of character driven drama and high stakes action of CATCHING FIRE; among them are I AM LEGEND, CONSTANTINE, and WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.

FrancisLawrence“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,” said Erik Feig, Lionsgate’s President Of Production.  Continue reading

The Washington Post spends 60 Seconds with Josh Hutcherson

During the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, the Washington Post got one minute to get as much information from Josh Hutcherson as they could. And they got through quite a lot. Josh discussed sightseeing in the US Capitol, Washington DC, life since ‘ The Hunger Games‘, whether or not he was really “punk’d” on Punk’d and new ‘Catching Fire‘ director Francis Lawrence.

So has your life changed a lot since “Hunger Games”? Is there something palpably different?

Hutcherson: No. The run-up beforehand was a lot more crazy. Now it’s calmed down a lot. In the beginning, it was absolutely unreal. Now I’m just enjoying it.

And how do you feel about the new director, Francis Lawrence, for “Catching Fire”? Have you gotten a chance to talk with him?

Hutcherson: I haven’t met him yet, actually. But I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about him. I love Gary [Ross] so I’m sad to see him go. But I think at the same time, Francis is going to bring a lot to the table.

Josh Hutcherson getting Punk'd Hunger GamesI saw that you were on “Punk’d” recently. Did you really have no idea what was going on?

Long pause.

Hutcherson: I had a hankering that something was up. But I wasn’t fully aware of the situation until the very end.

You were suspicious.

Hutcherson: I have a pretty good intuition. I was able to figure out what was going on.

You can read the full interview here!

Video: Josh Hutcherson Is ‘Extremely Sad’ Gary Ross Won’t Return for ‘Catching Fire’

MTV talked with Josh Hutcherson at CinemaCon about Gary Ross stepping down as director for Catching Fire and Francis Lawrence stepping in for the job.

Why Francis Lawrence is a Great Choice to Direct ‘Catching Fire’

Francis Lawrence is Lionsgate’s pick to direct ‘The Hunger Games‘ sequel, but some fans are definitely still on the fence about the decision. Well, NextMovie has some excellent points that will hopefully put your mind at ease about Lawrence directing ‘Catching Fire‘.

“Catching Fire” has to begin production this August to accommodate potential actor scheduling conflicts and to meet the Nov. 22, 2013 release date scheduled by Lionsgate.

Gary Ross Hunger GamesFor Gary Ross, the idea of readying the film for production would likely include a heavy re-drafting process on the script – which was originally penned by “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” writer Simon Beaufoy – before moving forward on anything else. That’s because Ross is even more accomplished under his screenwriting hat than behind the lens and always has a major hand in the scripts he shoots from.

Not so for Francis Lawrence. Unlike Ross, Lawrence isn’t known for his screenplay-writing acumen and would be more likely to work from Beaufoy’s script; this leaves plenty of time to economize on the other pre-production efforts which will be involved – casting, set-scouting, and production design to name a few. In other words, the span between now and August looks a lot more supple when you’ve got a working script at the ready rather than just a first draft.

FrancisLawrenceA second major consideration is the visual and creative palette Francis Lawrence brings to the table. So far, he’s directed three motion pictures – “Constantine,” “I Am Legend,” and “Water For Elephants” – each of which was based upon a book. All three movies were semi-large productions with complicated visual aspects.

Whether it was a Keanu Reeves versus the heavens fight scene, Will Smith hunting deer with a red Mustang in Manhattan, or Reese Witherspoon dancing atop a giant elephant, Lawrence added weight to the moments with excellent set selection. Put simply, the man knows how to create a backdrop.

And this will be mighty important for “Catching Fire,” as the film will introduce a few new landscapes – Victor’s Village, some of the as-yet-unseen Districts, and an all-new arena (which just so happens to be twelve times as complicated as the first). If there’s anything we can be confident about with Francis Lawrence in charge of the film, it’s that these new settings will be stunning.

Head here to read the rest of the article.

Does this settle your mind on Francis Lawrence? How do you feel about the decision?

Source: NextMovie

VIDEO: Josh Hutcherson on Francis Lawrence as Director of Catching Fire

Up until now there’s been no word from any of The Hunger Games cast on how they feel about Gary Ross no longer directing the sequel, Catching Fire. But both E! Online and The Hollywood Reporter checked in with Josh Hutcherson (who plays Peeta Mellark) at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.

As you can hear in the video above, Josh told THR that he’s excited to meet Francis Lawrence.  ”I’ve heard amazing things about him, so it’s gonna be a fun ride.”

Here’s what he told E! Online about the new Catching Fire Director:

“Gary Ross was the best guy in the world,” Hutcherson said at the GLAAD Media Awards, where he’s being honored with the Vanguard Award. “I think he brought so much to the movie. I’m definitely going to miss him.”

Hutcherson added that he had thought Ross was on board for all three flicks, but he’s psyched to work with the sequel’s new director. “Francis Lawrence is extremely talented,” he said. “I’ve heard he’s the nicest guy in the world. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do with it.”

You can read the article here.