Francis Lawrence has been chosen by Lionsgate to direct Catching Fire, the highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games. A formal offer is expected to be issued later today.

We reported last week that Gary Ross passed on the sequel, which sent Lionsgate on the hunt to find a new director fast. Bennett Miller (Moneyball) was the other front runner, and it is said that both directors met with the studio today before Lionsgate made their final choice. Other directors in consideration were Tomas Alfredson, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Cary Fukunaga, and Duncan Jones.

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Gary Ross was also planning on writing the Catching Fire script alongside Simon Beaufoy. It isn't known if Francis Lawrence will take a crack at the script, or if the studio will hire new writers.

The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are all returning for the sequel, although it isn't known when production will begin. Shooting will have to be wrapped by December, which is when Jennifer Lawrence begins production on the X-Men: First Class Sequel.