Gary Ross officially departs ‘The Hunger Games’ sequel, ‘X-Men’ schedule is the reason
Director releases statement and so does Lionsgate. But the real issue is revealed.
So it’s official. After a week of media speculation, director Gary Ross has now officially confirmed that he will not be returning to directing the sequel to ‘The Hunger Games’.
He publicly announced his departure from the sequel in the statement below:
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.
A very classy way to exit and makes sense for the director to not rush a sequel that he cares about. Lionsgate responded with their own statement:
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.
All this might sound like standard PR stuff, but THR actually went further investigation and found out that the reason for him leaving is the schedule for ‘X-Men: First Class 2′. We reported earlier that ‘X-Men’ will shoot in January of 2013 just so that Jennifer Lawrence can go finish the shooting of ‘Catching Fire’ late in 2012 and then can return as Mystique for that movie. But apparently, this agreement meant that the shooting for ‘Catching Fire’ has to be finished by December which means it has to begin by August. Gary Ross insisted that he needs at least two months to work on the script for the film, but then that would leave only six to eight weeks to actually prep for the shooting. Since he believes ‘Catching Fire’ to be the hardest of the trilogy to film, he simply didn’t believe there was enough time for him to actually work on the sequel in that timeframe without compromising on his vision.
Unfortunate, but good on Ross for being brave enough to walk away like that.
So who directs now? Read our list of candidates to take over the franchise.