Gary Ross Makes Statement to Confirm Departure from 'Catching Fire'
After an initial report of tense negotiations followed by news that Gary Ross wouldn't be returning to the franchise due to the director's desire to work on another project, and murmurs over the weekend that the filmmaker was not yet out of the running, we finally have the final word. Deadline has a statement from Ross confirmed that he will not be back in the director's chair to continue The Hunger Games franchise with the sequel Catching Fire. Lionsgate is pretty shocked that their negotiations failed, but the way Ross talks, it sounds like he was being rushed into production and didn't feel comfortable with that. More below!
Here's the official statement from Ross himself:
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 is apparently very surprised by Ross' departure saying, "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." So that means the search is on for someone to step up to the plate and respectfully, but somewhat quickly, get the anticipated sequel on the move to meet its November 22nd, 2013 release date. Thoughts?