The Hunger Games Trilogy: Catching a New Director
It was almost impossible to ignore the swirl of controversy exploding on the internet a week ago when rumors leaked that Gary Ross, the wizard who magicked the film version of The Hunger Games into the world, would not be taking the helm of Catching Fire the second film in the trilogy (or four-ogy, if you count the two-parter ending). While it was tempting to become mired in the drama, I patiently set it aside, determined to have a productive and happy weekend.
Giving in to rumors has been a bad habit in the past.
Sadly, even after petitions and trending-twitter-tags and a great effort on the part of the fandom, Ross announced he really, truly is leaving the franchise on the grounds of “not enough time to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.” I mean, what a lame excuse right? J/K ya’ll. This is serious business.
Gary Ross is suffering what I like to call The Catherine Hardwicke Effect. No, I’m not suggesting her as the next director. Her campy, lulzy take on Twilight and super sexed up Red Riding Hood were a bit too strange and not emotionally charged or serious enough for the content of Catching Fire.
Not only 24 hours later and the internet is already abuzz with rumors or judgments about who should take the helm. Since absolutely no one has asked my opinion yet, I will give it to you anyway.
Here are my top 5 picks for a new HG director (in no particular order, mind you):
- Kathryn Bigelow. Sadly, this was not my own thundering revelation, but the suggestion of an equally nerdy friend who loves the franchise as much as I do. And I like it. Who better to make a film about a woman suffering from PTSD than a woman who already made a film about someone suffering from PTSD. She could handle the action sequences and draw out depth of emotion and character. Also Strange Days and Point Break. Nuff said
- Ridley Scott or Tony Scott (come on, they’re practically the same person!). Ridley’s probably busy making other epic films about space travel and medieval Europe and Ancient Rome, but this guy is so old school Hollywood he could probably pick up where this guy left off no problem. The chances or likelihood of this happening? Slim to none. This guy usually works on his own projects and Lionsgate is small potatoes. Tony is a better bet as he takes on smaller projects. He would likely cast Denzel Washington in a role. Maybe as an older tribute? I wouldn’t mind. He’s responsible for some great action flicks in his day. Man on Fire ya’ll. Look it up.
- Matt Reeves. If you guys LOVED the shaky cam like I didn’t, you might love this director – he was the man behind the lens on Cloverfield. He’s also responsible for the Let Me In adaptation of Let The Right One In which I gave my blessing to last year or so when it came out. He also wrote, directed and produced Felicity, so he’s got some lady cred. Also, his relationships with JJ Abrams and Drew Goddard make him a special Hollywood unicorn who is still affordable for the chumps at Lionsgate.
- Alfonso Cuaron. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban alum (my favorite of the entire series, hate on me if you will). He was also responsible for another adaptation flick – Great Expectations and one of my top favorite dystopian future action flicks (not THE top, but up there in the top 5 mayhaps) Children of Men. He has a nice dark, gritty edge which I find appropriate for the increasingly intense subject matter of the sequel (and Mockingjay as well).
- Danny Boyle. Alright, this is starting to simply become a list of my favorite directors now. There’s very little chance Lionsgate could snag this guy, but think about it – his last two flicks were adaptations of fictional and non-fiction content. He made an entire film about a dude trapped in a cave in the middle of a desert. He would bring levity and intelligence to the project.
Out of all those directors – Matt Reeves makes the most sense. He might be in pre-production for Cloverfield 2, but do we really need that movie in the world? Sources say no. He is just under-the-radar enough that Lionsgate could approach him and not have to shell out big bucks. In fact, I would be surprised if he isn’t already on their short-list.
Keep an eye out for some random ass Disney live action director, ala Ross. I mean, before The Hunger Games his claim to fame was Seabiscuit.
Regardless of fan outcry, Lionsgate will do whatever the eff it wants, because it knows fans will pay an enormous chunk of money to see the flick regardless of whether or not it’s well made. Clearly, they care very little about production value and cost and producing quality product when they are strapping directors with obscene timelines for, you know, art.
Instead of spending our collective energy crying in our sad pants, we should let Lionsgate and all the other film studios know greenlighting and pushing sequels into production with impossible goals of squeezing more and more cash out of us…we should tell them no.
But we’ll go see it anyways. And therein lies the rub. Lionsgate has us over the barrel and we’ll happily pay to remain there no matter what they do with our franchise.
They Also Ran: Bryan Singer might be another option, but he’s wearing a lot of different hats at the moment, so there’s a large chance of no happening there. I’m gonna throw out Julie Taymor, cause she is a visionary, but I think she would have trouble adapting to someone else’s world she didn’t have a heavy hand in sculpting. There are also a lot of Davids and Chris’ running around in Hollywood who were once attached to HP and Twilight. They are equally up for grabs.