Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Hunger Games: Catching fire will need a new director after all, as Gary Ross steps down...

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As expected it is the rush to get film number two made (and Jennifer Lawrence on set before Fox nabs her for X-Men: First Class Pt.2) more than cash money that has led Oscar nominated writer / director Gary Ross to walk away from the Hunger Games series.

Here’s what Gary Ross himself had to say...
“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.”

Ironically The Hollywood Reporter quoted Josh Hutherson only 
yesterday as saying...

“I think Gary’s the man. Gary is in my mind is the only one that could ever direct the second one. That’s what I’m sticking to.”

Most will know that I wasn’t actually very impressed with The hunger Games at all. (Click Here for my opinion on From The Red Carpet) A big fan of the book i was very disappointed in the film for any number of reasons, although there was enough good there (the performances for example) to let me believe that there’s a 3 hour+ director’s cut out there that I could like a lot more. Chief problem with the film is that it rushes through pretty much every character and incident so quickly that no time is left for any depth, weight or emotional attachment at all. (I’m especially looking at Katniss and Rues 10 second team up and Peeta and Katniss’ 5 minute Cave Fauxmance). That said Ross is quality and at least attempted to do the books some kind of justice in terms of seriousness. Finding somebody else who will both Care to do the same and manage it, when the script has to be polished and pre-production sorted by August is by no mean definitely preferable to Ross getting a chance, and more money, to correct his errors this time around.

If we’re to take Lionsgate at their word, and not just as a supplier of obligatory empty platitudes, then Ross may well be back for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 & 2.

“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.”

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