With Gary Ross finally confirming this week that he won't return for the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, and with production looking to gear up later this year, we knew it wouldn't be long before we heard word of whom Lionsgate is considering to replace him on the eagerly anticipated production. Frankly, we're surprised it took more than a day. The Los Angeles Times has announced that their short list consists of seven or eight directors (all of them men), but chose to highlight three of the biggest, pie in the sky names you can imagine: Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, and David Cronenberg.
While they're not exactly Michael Bay, Lionsgate doesn't appear to be looking for "action" directors so much as acclaimed dramatic directors who can elevate Suzanne Collins' material beyond the sci-fi blockbuster they could so easily turn into via the Hollywood system. Alfonso Cuaron has had the most mainstream experience of the trio, having been the first person to take over the Harry Potter franchise post-Chris Columbus with the critically acclaimed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (still considered by many to be the best in the movie series). Innaritu has yet to take a proper studio gig, focusing instead on his broken timeline dramas, like Babel and 21 Grams.
But the name that really intrigues us is David Cronenberg, the director of such completely f*cked up movie as Videodrome, Dead Ringers and Crash (the sexy car accident movie, not the Oscar-winning racism drama). Earlier in Cronenberg's career, after he began making body horror genre movies in Canada in the 1970s, Cronenberg was courted for such eventual mainstream successes as Return of the Jedi and Total Recall (the latter of which he actively developed for a while before Paul Verhoeven came on board), but his biggest studio success to date was his remake of The Fly, which subversively reimagined the classic b-movie sci-fi flick – about a scientist who becomes half-man, half-fly – as a haunting parable for dying slowly from a degenerative disease.
Would Lionsgate trust David Cronenberg to just adapt Suzanne Collins' novel without putting too many of his own predilections on screen? Would Cronenberg even be interested? Time will tell, but for folks whose interest in The Hunger Games is limited, his presence would make Catching Fire a "must see."
CraveOnline will return with more Catching Fire news because we're not afraid. Well, we're not very afraid…