8 Possible Directors for “Catching Fire”

It’s kind of a slow time of year for movie lovers.

If you’re anything like me, the time between January and April/May is mostly spent catching up on indie films that were only in theaters for 2 weeks or playing the trailers for “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” on repeat. God knows you won’t find me in a theater paying 10 bucks to watch “CGI of the Titans.”

The biggest story of this week has been Gary Ross’ decision to step down from the directing chair for the “Hunger Games” sequels. Gasp!

But take heart young Panemians, for I have concocted a list of replacements that are well-suited for the job. Some of these make more/less sense than others but I would feel very at ease if one of the following was chosen to pick up where Ross left off.

Len Wiseman

Wiseman (whom I will forever call “The Luckiest Man on Earth” for marrying Kate Beckinsale) is best known for his work on the “Underworld” franchise and will soon bring the “Total Recall” reboot to life. He is an action director who knows how to handle the kind of blood and guts described in both “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay.” Wiseman first broke into the business through the art department, so he also knows a thing or two about design (A skill that could come in handy when creating the world of the Capital and the arena.)

James Mangold

Here is a director that I think could do very well with the action scenes required for “Catching Fire” as well as the personal moments where we see the characters develop. He has directed “Girl, Interrupted” and more recently “3:10 to Yuma” and “Walk the Line.” All three of these films have strong characters and the last 20 minutes of “Yuma” are pretty intense. Mangold would be a fine choice, however he has recently been tapped to direct the next “Wolverine” movie with Hugh Jackman, so he could easily be unavailable.

Rupert Wyatt

Who IS currently available is this 39-year-old director from the UK. He made his big directorial splash last August with the surprisingly well-made “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Although this was his first big movie, he also directed the 2008 film “The Escapist,” which isn’t too shabby. He may not make as much sense as some of the others on the list, but I think he has what it takes to make an even better film than Ross’ “Hunger Games.”

Brad Bird

I’ll go ahead and admit that this is more of a wishlist choice for me. Not only did Bird direct 2 of the best animated films ever made (“The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”), but he also proved he can handle live action features (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”) with ease. There could also be availability issues here but, if given a script that is anything better than cringeworthy, he could knock this series out of the park.

AND HE HAS TWO OSCARS!

Tony Gilroy

If you’re wanting a top-calibre director to take over “Catching Fire,” Gilroy would be a strong candidate. He has only directed 3 movies, but the first was a little film called “Michael Clayton” for which he earned Oscar nominations in directing and writing. The third is the soon-to-be-released “The Bourne Legacy” which looks very promising. Strong characters, Bourne-style fighting and Oscar nominations? Yeah, you could pick worse.

Duncan Jones

The son of actor and musician David Bowie, Jones made his feature debut as a director with the 2009 film “Moon.” While it was not exactly the biggest moneymaker, it is a very strong film that many felt was robbed during the awards season. On top of this, Jones also directed the sci-fi action film “Source Code” last year, which was much better than most people would have thought. He doesn’t have a large body of work to judge by, but I think Duncan Jones is the kind of director you gamble on.

David Yates

Why is it that every director seems to be from the UK? Anyway, I know for many fans of the “The Hunger Games,” the biggest worry is whether or not the films will be able to flow together when different directors are at the helm. Others are concerned about how things will translate from the books and onto the big screen. For Yates’ stamp of approval, I will direct you to the nearest “Harry Potter” fan. A relatively unheard of director prior to his work on the last 4 “Harry Potter” films, Yates was able to make the difficult transition between the fun wizard movies filled with Quidditch to the darker installments where important characters are dropping left and right. Why would I like Yates to direct “Catching Fire” and possibly “Mockingjay?” Because he’s been there before. Sadly, this may be another one of those directors whose schedule is too busy.

My top choice for a “Catching Fire” director?

That would be…Alfonso Cuaron.

The 50-year-old director from Mexico may not have too many well-known film credits to his name, but I’ll share the only two that matter. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men.” The first is important because you can basically take the attributes I had given to David Yates and transfer them to Cuaron. He’s been there before. If you haven’t seen “Children of Men,” go watch it right now. No, I’m not kidding. Fold the computer down and go……

For those of you still with me, “Children of Men” is not only an excellent film but also has the kind of filmmaking that I would like to see in “Mockingjay.” There is an apocalyptic feel. And despair. And a warzone. It’s great filmmaking and I would be interested in this series getting a similar vibe when stuff starts to really hit the fan.

So that’s my list. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment area. I’m all ears.

For more of my thoughts, head on over to Velvet Curtain Reviews http://velvetcurtainreviews.wordpress.com/ where I usually call home. I’ll be reviewing a little movie called “Titanic” this weekend as the 100 year anniversary of the real-life tragedy is nearly at hand. If I don’t see you there, I’ll be back here every month on Tellurian Things. Happy viewing.

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