We reported last week that Gary Ross passed on the sequel, which sent Lionsgate on the hunt to find a new director fast. Bennett Miller (Moneyball) was the other front runner, and it is said that both directors met with the studio today before Lionsgate made their final choice. Other directors in consideration were Tomas Alfredson, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Cary Fukunaga, and Duncan Jones.
Gary Ross was also planning on writing the Catching Fire script alongside Simon Beaufoy. It isn't known if Francis Lawrence will take a crack at the script, or if the studio will hire new writers.
The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are all returning for the sequel, although it isn't known when production will begin. Shooting will have to be wrapped by December, which is when Jennifer Lawrence begins production on the X-Men: First Class Sequel.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire comes to theaters November 22nd, 2013 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film is directed by Francis Lawrence.
The Hunger Games was released March 23rd, 2012 and stars Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Paula Malcomson. The film is directed by Gary Ross.