Category: Gary Ross
Sad news for fans of Gary Ross’s vision of The Hunger Games: he will not return to direct Catching Fire.
Gary Ross released an official statement:
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.
Lionsgate said of his departure:
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.
Let the speculation begin: who would you like to see direct Catching Fire now that Gary Ross is officially leaving the project?
We previously reported that Indiewire had exclusive information that The Hunger Games director, Gary Ross, would not be returning to the franchise to direct Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy.
New reports are stemming from The Hollywood Reporter stating that Gary is still in negotiations, and the resume today –
The Hunger Gamesdirector Gary Ross is set to meet with Lionsgate executives on Monday for a key meeting that will help determine his role in the follow-up to the mega-blockbuster.
Contrary to previous media reports, Ross—who returned from a vacation in Italy on Friday—has not exited the booming franchise. But he is not yet signed to return for the second installment, Catching Fire, and sources say the filmmaker is concerned about an ambitious production schedule that would require shooting to begin in August so that star Jennifer Lawrence can complete her work before she is due to start filming a sequel to Fox’s X-Men: First Classin January.
THR reported last week that Fox has informed studios and talent agencies of its planned start date for the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men movie. Since Fox’s deal with Lawrence predates her contract for Hunger Games, X-Men is in a priority position. With the script for the second Hunger Games not yet locked, that means all preparations for a sequel would have to be done in four months—a tough schedule to meet.
Sources describe the negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate as delicate. In addition to his concerns about the schedule, THR reported on Wednesday that the filmmaker would like a raise from the $3 million (and 5 percent of backend) that he received for the first film, which has passed $450 million in worldwide box office and received an 85 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rottentomatoes.com. Ross, an accomplished screenwriter and director (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) has several other projects in development and could choose to pursue any of them.
You can read the rest of the article here.
While this morning it was reported that Lionsgate and Fox worked out their scheduling issues to allow Jennifer Lawrence to shoot “Catching Fire” and the “X-Men: First Class” sequel essentially back-to-back, it looks like before cameras can start rolling on “The Hunger Games” sequel this fall, the studio will need to find a director. The Playlist has learned that Gary Ross has officially exited the franchise and will not direct the sequel, formally giving Lionsgate and Summit his notice earlier this week, that he will not be coming back.
Though recent trade reports have spun the story as being an issue mostly about money, that’s pretty much a small part of the motivation. Ross has never been a filmmaker that repeats himself (going from satire in “Pleasantville” to horse racing drama in “Seabiscuit” and action in “The Hunger Games”) and we’re told the burning desire simply isn’t there to spend another couple of years with Katniss in the Capitol (evidently, he also liked the first book best). And while the lowball salary offer probably didn’t help, Ross already has a fairly lucrative career as a screenwriter (and rewriter) and money isn’t really the issue. Simply put, the filmmaker is looking to change things up for his next effort.
I wish Gary nothing but the best in all future endeavors. It does break my heart that he won’t be back. I truly do hope they pick someone equally as talented and that will do the second book as much justice as Gary did the first.
I wholeheartedly trust the judgment of Lionsgate, and I know they will pick someone that has the same love for the books as Gary does.
What do you think about this news? Who do you think should direct Catching Fire movie? Let us know in the comments section!
You can read the rest of the article over at Indiewire.
NOTE: This is NOT confirmed by Lionsgate. We will consider this a rumor until we hear from them directly.