With Gary Ross officially done with The Hunger Games franchise, Lionsgate is in scramble mode to find a competent director to deliver the film’s sequel, titled Catching Fire, in time for its November 2013 release date. And according to The Los Angeles Times, the studio has narrowed its decision down to a shortlist of talent.

Directors Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), David Cronenberg (A History of Violence), and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) highlight the names that the site is reporting, but it also claims that there are others that haven't been revealed. Cuarón is set to release Gravity this November, but has nothing on his slate afterwards. If hired, this will be Cuarón’s second time taking over a novel-based franchise as he was also behind camera for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, there is always the chance that he won't want to repeat himself and take over an established franchise again.

In our wildest dreams we can’t imagine Cronenberg having any interest in Catching Fire. He is notorious for turning down high-profile gigs in the past, and there is certainly no reason for him to change his philosophies now.

And out of the names revealed on this list, Inarritu is probably the most likely to take the job. He would be reuniting with Babel producer Jon Kilik, who is attached to Catching Fire, and this sort of project would be enough to get him some mainstream exposure.

Whoever Lionsgate pursues, the studio is going to need to act quickly. The movie will begin filming in September and it doesn’t want to make the mistake of putting out a sloppy, rushed film and run the risk of derailing the franchise before it really gets going.

[via The Los Angeles Times]