Top five picks for ‘Catching Fire’ directing gig

Big news overnight that director of ‘The Hunger Games’, Gary Ross has chosen not to commit to making the sequel ‘Catching Fire’.

The sequel begins shooting later in the year and the search is on to find a director. It easy to put together a list of popular directors who could fill the position, but despite Lionsgate pocketing a lot of money at the box office from ‘The Hunger Games’ they’ll be keeping the budget in check. That means most big directors will be out of the picture due to large pay demands.

We’ve put together a list of the top five directors who could take the franchise into its next phase and make a kick-arse sequel to boot.

Hit the jump to check out our picks.

Stuart Beattie

The Australian writer/director has an impressive resume and has worked on a few big movie franchises. Beattie has writing credits on the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, ‘Collateral’, ’30 Days of Night’ and probably load of uncredited re-writes on a few blockbusters. Beattie’s best claim at the ‘Catching Fire’ gig would be his work on the Australian film ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ that’s based on a popular teen book series with similar themes.

The only thing against Beattie is his busy schedule that includes directing ‘I, Frankenstein’ and the sequel to ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ as well as script work on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’ and the videogame film ‘Halo’.

The work that will get him the gig: ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’

Nicolas Winding Refn

It’s a long shot but Winding Refn is a director on the rise who is ready to take on a mainstream Hollywood film if given the chance. His films are known for their brutality and not doubt Lionsgate would have to handle him properly to avoid any drama, but the potential for something brilliant is there. With films like ‘Bronson’, ‘Valhalla Rising’ and ‘Drive’ he could take ‘Catching Fire’ in an interesting direction. Winding Refn has been toying with a ‘Logan’s Run’ remake for years and ‘Catching Fire’ could be a good substitute. His schedule looks clear; he’s currently directing ‘Only God Forgives’ and will serve as an executive producer on the US remake of his ‘Pusher’ films.

The work that will get him the gig: ‘Drive’ – but it’s a long shot

Joe Cornish

If you want to know why Joe Cornish should direct ‘Catching Fire’ just sit down and watch ‘Attack the Block’. Cornish knows how to deliver big entertaining action and he can handle rebellious teenagers. He has writing credits on ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ another film that features an adrenaline driven teenager. His schedule is wide open with only writing duties on Marvel Studios ‘Ant Man’ on the horizon.

The work that will get him the gig – ‘Attack the Block’

Sean Durkin

Another indie hero making the list but these are the directors that Lionsgate will be able to afford and Durkin has a promising future after directing ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ (MMMM). Durkin delivered a chilling film with ‘MMMM’ and we’d love to see him apply those themes to the world of ‘The Hunger Games’. The cult in ‘MMMM’ is very similar to life in the Capitol in ‘The Hunger Games’ and both films have female leads who face physical and emotional challenges.

The work that will get him the gig: ‘Martha Macy May Marlene’

Joss Whedon

Whedon knows how to handle strong female characters and we’d like to see him take on Katniss Everdeen. From ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ to Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, he has a lot of outstanding credits to his name with the added bonus of a built in fan base. With three films he worked on coming out this year -‘The Avengers’, ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ – his asking price is get to skyrocket but Lionsgate could negotiate a good deal to land Whedon’s signature.

The work that will get him the gig: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and ‘The Avengers’

Let the games begin!

‘Catching Fire’ is released 22 November 2013.