As soon as Gary Ross announced he wouldn't return to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire the Internet exploded with suggestions, the loudest of which was Alfonso Cuaron, whom is often credited with turning the Harry Potter franchise into a more adult outing with his adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Well, go figure, over at the Los Angeles Times they have a list of three directors (they've been supplied oh so secretively) Lionsgate hopes to secure to fill Ross's shoes and guess who's on it...
Only three names are mentioned out of a supposed seven or eight on the master list, one of them Cuaron along with David Cronenberg and Babel helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Word is qualifications for making the studio's list included "enough credits and accolades to appeal to ["The Hunger Games" author Suzanne Collins], who is much more interested in quality filmmaking than box-office prowess" and a director with "an even keel; no petulant crybabies allowed."
Then the article says Lionsgate is "hoping to re-create the Harry Potter moment when Warner Bros. brought Alfonso Cuaron to direct the third film in the series." What does that mean? There has only been one film in the franchise so far. Is this to say Lionsgate is looking at The Hunger Games with the same eye we all look at the first two Christopher Columbus-directed Harry Potter films? Or maybe Catching Fire just needs more purple. Please, explain this to me.
While I'll be the first to say the direction on The Hunger Games wasn't particularly strong and the extreme use of close-ups and handheld camerawork was a bit distracting (though it was used to help ensure a PG-13 rating), but does the franchise need a makeover equivalent to the immense leap the Potter franchise took moving from Chamber of Secrets to Azkaban? Cuaron did a great job on Azkaban, certainly marking a new direction for the franchise, but I fail to see any comparison to The Hunger Games outside both franchises are huge money makers.
Want to follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter? Don't hire Cuaron, take a risk on someone unexpected, that's what Warner Bros. did.
The "Times" article seems to also be forgetting their own words, focusing on only three directors despite noting the studio's "master list is seven or eight names long, all men, and all have some significant credits to their name." So, those other four or five are no-gos? Or just aren't sexy enough to leak to the press and keep people talking about Catching Fire?
If Suzanne Collins has as much pull as this article seems to suggest and is interested in quality over box-office receipts, then why doesn't she step up and tell them to make a film that is as thought-provoking and intense as the books she wrote? Or, at the very least, elevate the story beyond plot points and details and get to the heart of the characters.
This kind of manipulation of the press is irksome and don't think many won't be pouncing on the small note that none of the contenders for the job are women directors. I guess they don't have enough credits to their name... I wonder why?
Oh, and on a side note, I don't see Cuaron taking the job, especially with the amount of post production work he has going on Gravity, which is just one more reason to look at this list as bogus press baiting. As for the other two, I don't see it either, but that's just gut instinct.