Is it down to Miller and Lawrence for ‘Catching Fire’?

According to sources (how reliable, we don’t know yet) Lionsgate’s shortlist for directors just got shorter.  Rumor has it that it’s come down to Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence, with hope of a final decision by the end of the week.  Check out the story from  The Hollywood Reporter below.

The search for a director to replace Gary Ross onCatching Fire is narrowing, with a decision potentially coming as early as the end of this week, according to sources.

Bennett Miller, who directedMoneyball, has met with Lionsgate to helm the sequel toThe Hunger Games, the adaptation of the Suzanne Collins best-seller, as hasFrancis Lawrence, the director best known for theWill Smith sci-fi action movieI Am Legend.

Their names surfaced in the last 24 hours and were reported byThe Playlist and the Los Angeles Times as the search field for prospective directors narrows.

Lawrence is deemed the front-runner by observers simply because of his open schedule. Miller is working his way to a December start for Foxcatcher, the story of John Du Pont, a paranoid schizophrenic who was heir to the du Pont fortune before he shot and killed Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz. Miller has been working on this passion project for years and has lined up Steve Carell and Channing Tatum with Mark Ruffallo in negotiations to join the cast.

It’s unlikely that Miller would abandon Foxcatcherfor Fire, although it’s possible he could try to push back its start date.

Scheduling is at the heart of Catching Fire’s director vacancy. The franchise’s starJennifer Lawrence must finish shooting the movie by December 20 and in time to start shooting the sequel to Fox’s X-Men: First Class, which has an option that pre-dates Liongate’s deal.

Lionsgate not only has the December 20 date weighing on it but an already-penciled in November 22, 2013 release date.

Any thoughts on these rumored new developments?

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