Francis Lawrence To Direct 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 And 2'

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Stretching the limits of human ability, Francis Lawrence will reportedly go straight from directing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, to directing the series' two-part finale, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, scheduled for release November 21, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, on November 20, 2015. Danny Strong has been tasked with splitting Suzanne Collins' third and final book into two screenplays. Read more after the jump.

Collider got the jump on the scoop, saying the ink is still wet on the deal. Lionsgate has yet to officially confirm. (EDIT: They just did.)Original speculation was that Lawrence wasn't going to be able to direct the final two Hunger Games films because he'd been too busy finishing Catching Fire, opening November 22, 2013, but apparently that's not the case. Or Lionsgate couldn't find a suitable successor. Now Lawrence will finish one film while prepping a second, and be forced to go right into the next. Then do that same process all over again in 2014.

As I suggested above, it seems like a herculean task. But all the films are in the same world, working with mostly the same cast and – one would think – the same crew. It's possible. What it also does is show supreme confidence in what Lionsgate has seen of next year's Catching Fire.

Where Catching Fire largely follows the same structure as this year's hit film, and first installment, The Hunger Games, Mockingjay goes outside of that and is more of a war film. Giving away more than that would spoil next year's installment but, if you're curious (and unworried about spoilers), here's the book description from Amazon:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.