Even if you’re not a fan of The Hunger Games, you can probably list several items off of star Jennifer Lawrence’s filmography. But what about the franchise’s other Lawrence? We’re referring to director Francis Lawrence, who took over direction of The Hunger Games film franchise from Gary Ross following the first installment. Lawrence’s visual flair and talent for building cinematic worlds similar to our own made him an ideal choice for the job. Though Lawrence demonstrated these skills in I Am Legend and Constantine, it was his dual role as director and producer for the TV series Kings that really showed his potential to take on the final three The Hunger Games films.
Haven’t heard of Kings? You’re not alone. The television drama was a mid-season premiere for NBC back in 2009, and it didn’t last long, despite its compelling plot, stunning visuals, and solid ensemble cast. Loosely based on the story of King David from the Bible, Kings is set in an alternate modern day world in the kingdom of Gilboa (New York City stands in for the capital city Shiloh). The story begins when our young protagonist, David (Christopher Egan), a Gilboan soldier serving in the war against the Republic of Gath, takes out a Goliath-class tank to save some of his fellow soldiers -- one of whom happens to be the son of King Silas (Ian McShane). David is whisked off to the capital for a celebration in his honor and is able to witness first-hand the machinations of the monarchy, a system into which he is reluctantly pulled.
Kings is the perfect companion to The Hunger Games franchise. It’s The Hunger Games if it took place almost entirely in the Capitol with President Snow as one of many main characters. In addition to sharing a director -- Lawrence directed three episodes of the show’s 13-episode -- Kings shares a number of defining aspects with the YA franchise...
The reluctant hero trope: Katniss and David are very similar heroes. Both hail from humble backgrounds and are thrust into the spotlight via reluctant acts of heroism. Unlike many in their respective worlds, they don’t vie for celebrity or power; these things are unwanted side effects of their desire to protect the people they love. Both have lost their fathers to the demands of the nation -- Katniss’ father died in a mining accident, David’s father in the Unification War -- and both are torn between the simpler lives they left behind and the demands of the cause that has ensnared and changed them.