Francis Lawrence, a proficient mid-level hack who did a decent job as director of I Am Legend (that Will Smith-kills-his-zombie-dog scene was fairly touching) and Water for Elephants and who has finished principal photography on the forthcoming Hunger Games: Catching Fire, has signed to direct the last two HG flicks — Mockingjay Part I and Mockingjay Part II.
It’s become standard corporate policy to stretch out popular franchises as long as possible by splitting or tripling the final installment. Two Mockingjay pics means doubling up on that income — shareholder cinema!
In his story about the Lawrence hiring, Deadline‘s Patrick Hipes mentions that Lawrence was chosen to direct Catching Fire “in a race that came down to Lawrence and Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller, after Juan Antonio Bayona couldn’t do it.” Nobody will ever convince me that Miller, the elegant helmer of Moneyball and Capote, was ever genuinely interested in directing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Directing a Hunger Games movie is a way of screaming from the rooftops, “I am a marginally talented journeyman who will never be in the big leagues, but I like the warm comfortable feeling that comes from being well paid.”