Francis Lawrence to Direct Hunger Games Sequel: Report

04/20/2012 at 09:50 AM EDT

hunger Games Sequel Director to Be Francis Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games; Francis Lawrence (inset)
Lionsgate; Inset: PictureGroup
There's a new Head Gamemaker in town.

Director Francis Lawrence reportedly has been tapped to helm Catching Fire, the sequel to reigning box-office blockbuster The Hunger Games.

Lawrence, who last directed Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in 2011's Water for Elephants, won the job after Games director Gary Ross dropped out, citing time constraints due to the sequel's "fixed and tight production schedule.", which first reported the news about Lawrence, says that director Bennett Miller (Moneyball) was also up for the gig but couldn't meet the production's intended August start date.

Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are all on board for the entire three-book series.

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