Lionsgate recently made it clear that they had every intention to bring back The Hunger Games director Gary Ross for the sequel, Catching Fire, after rumors began swirling that he wouldn’t be returning.
But apparently Lionsgate’s intentions, no matter how persuasive, have failed them. It’s being reported that Ross has informed the studio that he will not be jumping back into the director’s chair for Catching Fire, and Lionsgate is said to be “in shock” over the decision.
Read a statement from Ross below, as well as one from Lionsgate.
Last week, The PlayList reported that their sources told them that Ross wouldn’t be back for the sequel. Now, both Ross and Lionsgate have released official statements which confirm that report.
Unfortunately it looks like Lionsgate really wants to rush into making Catching Fire (and why would they not after seeing The Hunger Games bring in $463.6 million and counting), while Ross feels he needs more time to make the movie the right way (which is what fans would prefer; rushing never seems to work out).
Here’s Ross’s 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.
And Lionsgate’s response:
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.
What do you think about Ross not returning? Do you feel he should have sucked it up and made it faster than he felt he needed? or are you happy he stood his ground for the sake of quality over speed?
Who do you think Lionsgate should bring in to direct Catching Fire?