Just yesterday we learned the identities of the two frontrunners for the most highly coveted directing job in showbiz: taking over where gary Ross left off and captaining the CATCHING FIRE ship. Francis Lawrence (I AM LEGEND) and Bennett Miller (MONEYBALL) are the two lucky guys ahead of the pack, but today a couple more names have surfaced, decidedly interesting ones at that: Joe Cornish and Juan Antonio Bayona.
While Miller and Lawrence have experience working on the Hollywood scale, these two have had far less exposure to big-budget movie-making. Cornish (pictured) did indeed co-write THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN for Steven Spielberg, but his only feature-length directorial effort thus far was last year's beloved ATTACK THE BLOCK. Meanwhile, Bayona's only feature is 2007's THE ORPHANAGE, although he recently wrapped his sophomore effort, THE IMPOSSIBLE, which stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.
According to Deadline, Lionsgate hasn't met with Cornish yet, but his name is being bandied about. Bayona, however, has visited with the powers-that-be. He's reportedly busy at the moment, which creates a bit of a conflict, but I'm guessing he could find a way to clear up his schedule if directing the sequel to THE HUNGER GAMES is at stake.
Lionsgate is expecting to shoot CATCHING FIRE in August, so we're probably very close to hearing a confirmation on one of these fellows... unless a dark horse candidate comes out of the blue and surprises us all.