The Hunger Games has been a massive smash, but director Gary Ross is apparently out of the running to helm the next sequel, Catching Fire. And to be honest, Ross’s huge reliance on shaky cam both blunted the impact of some of the killings and was awfully hard to watch after a while. Here are five directors I’d love to see considered for the role, pending their availability, and what I think they’d bring to the tale of a critically important female action hero.
1. Patty Jenkins: Jenkins was supposed to be directing Thor 2, but ended up exiting the project. She might actually be better suited for Catching Fire. The Hunger Games trilogy is fundamentally a story about post-traumatic stress disorder and the trama of committing violence, themes that Jenkins explored in her serial killer biopic Monster. That’s also a great movie about love and the authenticity of affection under enormous stress, a key component of the franchise.
2. Steven Soderbergh: He’s done a delightful job with action sequences in Las Vegas, which is the closest we get to the Capitol in contemporary America. And his work on Haywire suggests an interest in building out new brands of action heroines. But he might actually be better for the sequences in the third movie in the series, Mockingjay.
3. Edgar Wright: I think Wright, the force behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of the most outrageously talented and creative action choreographers working today. One thing the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games didn’t entirely make clear is how weird the arenas for the Games can be, and the arena in Catching Fire is a doozy. I’d love to see what Wright does with it. And given the weirdness of the one fight between women in Scott Pilgrim, I’d say Wright owes us a better one.
4. Karyn Kusama: I know a lot of people didn’t like the movie adaptation of Aeon Flux, which is a totally valid position to take. But between that and Girlfight, I’d like to see Kusama take another crack at a dystopian action movie with a female heroine, particularly one where the heroine and a man she (maybe?) loves are violently opposed.
5. Matthew Vaughn: Given his work on X-Men: First Class, we already know that Vaughn can get good work out of Jennifer Lawrence, especially in situations that involve performative sexuality. And Kick-Ass is brutal fun, with a tender, violent performance by Chloe Moretz. It’d be fun to see Vaughn tackle a movie where an alternately tender and tough girl is the main character.