SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 3 (UPI) -- U.S. filmmaker Francis Lawrence has been hired to direct "Catching Fire," the sequel to "The Hunger Games," Lionsgate announced Thursday.
The next installment in the young-adult survival story, based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling novels, is due in theaters Nov. 22, 2013.
Lawrence's film credits include "I Am Legend," "Constantine" and "Water for Elephants." His involvement in "Catching Fire" was announced Thursday by Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.
"Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of 'Catching Fire.' Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and [heroine] Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life," Erik Feig, Lionsgate's president of production, said in a statement.
"It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring 'Catching Fire,' the second chapter of Suzanne's beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can't wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved," Lawrence said.
Gary Ross, who co-wrote and directed the first installment in the film franchise, declined to return for the sequel, saying he didn't think he had enough time to properly prepare before the studio wanted to start shooting this summer.