The Hunger Games books have a massive following, and the film adaptation had a lot to live up to. For the most part it succeeded (it's not the perfect film, but great anyway), and it's been financially rocking the box office. One of those reasons has to do with director Gary Ross' handling of the movie...Unfortunately he won't be coming back for the sequel, Catching Fire.
This has been something of an on-going story. Last week a report/rumor came out that Ross was out of the running to direct Catching Fire. Then over the weekend, his reps said that he hadn't officially backed out of the project and was still in talks with Lionsgate. Now, it looks like it's finally official. Ross will NOT be returning to direct the Hunger Games sequel. This confirmation came in the form of statements from both Gary Ross and Lionsgate.
Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.
I loved making The Hunger Games – it was the happiest experience of my professional life. Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results. And contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision.
I also cannot say enough about the people I worked with: Producer Nina Jacobson, a great collaborator and a true friend; the brilliant Suzanne Collins, who entrusted us with her most amazing and important story; the gifted and remarkable Jennifer Lawrence whose performance exceeded my wildest expectations, and the rest of the incredible cast, whom I am proud to call my friends.
To the fans I want to say thank you for your support your faith, your enthusiasm and your trust. Hard as this may be to understand I am trying to keep that trust with you. Thank you all. It’s been a wonderful experience.
We’re very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future.
Well damn. That really sucks. Like I said, I think Ross handled the adaptation about as good as it could have been. He pulled off something that both previous fans and newcomers have enjoyed, which isn't easy considering how high-profile this adaptation was. Lionsgate now has to move fairly fast. With Catching Fire already having a release date, plus Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) commited to the X-Men: First Class sequel (who pushed their filming back to January to accomodate Catching Fire's filming) they are going to have to find a new director ASAP. This has me worried, but I'm crossing my fingers they'll find the right person.
A film/video editor at heart, Jordan dips his hands in many areas of filmmaking, including producing and VFX. On top of that he's a huge nerd and cartoonist, though you shouldn't hold that against him. He's been writing on the film industry for a number of years now and has had his worked featured on a number of other major film sites.
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