Gary Ross Makes Statement to Confirm Departure from 'Catching Fire'

April 10, 2012
Source: Deadline

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?

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    Shame. But it was going to happen.
  • Bcopes11
    • peloquin
      I wish there was a dislike button for this comment...I'm so afraid that they'll go the Twilight route and not the Harry Potter route like they should.
      • Superman87
        Fyi, Katheryn bigelow an academy award winning director who directed the hurt locker, I don't think that constitutes as going the twilight route, in all honesty though, I'm not sure myself who I would like to handle catching fire, its a fantastic sequel and all I hope is that the material is handled well.
        • peloquin
          Oh man, I'm an idiot.  I read it and thought you meant Catherine Hardwicke.  I actually think Kathryn Bigelow would be perfect for the sequel.  My apologies.
  • I am sad to see him go but I just hope that they lock up the next director for all the movie. I also hope that the next director give us a more mature/ darker movie. I also hope they do not leave out minor detail which they did in THG which would have taken the movie to the next level.
    • jackofspades
      i agree so strongly with what you said about the small details. im the only person i know that had a problem with that.
  • Alfonso Cuaron godammit!
  • Film
    Truly wish Gary Ross and the writers realized that the career Tributes were not 'joking 'kids' laughing as they bullied their way through the game. This was an absolute travesty.  The Tributes are like Navy Seals, they are trained to work on mission together to obtain their objective, methodically, they would not laugh like bullies. 
    • equustel
      They're still children. All the more immature for the fact that they've never been raised to do anything but kill. It makes sense to me that they would behave like they did. 
  • HG2012
    ^as in writers you mean the book's author Suzanne Collins who helped write the script
  • Ehsan Davodi
    Whether this is good decision or not? Whether company can change director after make basic picture or not? I think they can,but shouldn't.they must take good decision in first act,first director get better focus on everything,this is very bright,but if he can't and ruin the movie he must changed. Why in such big project a ordinary guy direct the movie? Twilight1,Harry Potter1 was week,why a good director not directing them? David Yates ruin Harry potter but nothing happens,twilight2 was worst movie ever made but nothing happens,what's matter?are you insane! My base word is step1 is most important step.I think Sam raimi and cristopher Nolan were excellent step1 for spiderman and batman,but oh my god catrin hardwik!chiris colombos! Another idea is get talented amateur at least.zack Snyder in step one make dawn of dead and show talent,Christopher Nolan make memento show talent,even spilberg make duel and show talent! Whether talent is dead in holleywood? In such big huge system , where are this talented guys? Where are another James Cameron or luckas or spilberg or tim bertun or even snyder or Nolan? I m sorry for system(not Hollywood itself)
    • Alex O
      I have no idea what this comment is about. The grammar is off and doesn't make sense. 
  • AINYC Film
    I am very excited about this news. My feelings are the only two elements that did not work in Hunger Games (the movie) were the direction and cinematographer. I hope Lionsgate finds a suitable replacement. 
  • Guest
    Would love either Alfonso Cuaron or Joss Whedon.
  • Voice of Reason
    The 1st flick was a chaotic, nauseating, poorly shot mess. That riot scene—at least i think it was a riot, it was so hard to understand—in District 11 was like watching a movie 4 inches away from the screen. Absolute crap, pull back and show the action, scenery and characters. So, long Ross. Conrats, you made out like gangbusters with this flick by way of a crappy product, Im glad to see you go.
    • SpaceJockey
      In his defence, he had a terrible script to work with. Something in this film had to move, may as well be the camera.
    • P to the J
       Yes, yes, and yes. I agree 100% with VOR. All the actions sequences seemed to follow that same mold. Also, could they zoom in on peoples faces more during EVERY dialog shot? There appeared to be amazing settings all around them, but we hardly got to seem that which was really disappointing. Overall I was entertained, but quite disappointed, and I certainly hope they make it darker in the next film to more accurately reflect the books.
  • Brett Ratner's Mom
    I wonder what that wonderfully talented director Brett Ratner is up to...
    • AINYC Film
      LOL. That is hilarious! 
  • fem!anon
    Whoever directs, I hope it's rated R *long shot since it's a young adult novel but i am still crossing my fingers*
  • Marc Callado
    That's unfortunate he decided to step down since I connected with his vision of the book.  Hopefully he'll come back for the third film! Who's up for consideration?  Based on Xmen: First Class I'm voting Matthew Vaughn.
  • Maudeegt
    I second Kathryn Bigelow. Great pic. Ross did a good job ..not great for my expectations but those are hard to meet. There's no movie like the one in your mind's eye when you imagine the book you are reading. (Still hoping there's a director's cut with some extra scenes with Rue and other things I missed not seeing.)
  • Too bad.
  • Ehsan Davodi
    Hi Alex o You right,grammar in my comment is off,but every word is clear every sentence is bright if you think of course!
  • GregDinskisk
    For some reason, I think Don Coscarelli would do an INTERESTING job at least with it.... 
  • Iwak Chandra
    They should learn some lesson from the once great Hongkong movie industry.




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