The 'Real Story' Behind Soderbergh on 'Hunger Games' Fully Revealed

September 2, 2011
Source: Moviefone

Soderbergh / Hunger Games

A few weeks ago, news started to hit that Oscar winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh was helping out his friend, director Gary Ross, working as second unit director on The Hunger Games adaptation in the works. It was intriguing news because Soderbergh is quite a big name and yet was working second unit on a film that most don't even care about. Now we have an update, as Moviefone spoke directly with Soderbergh and learned he was just helping Ross for only a couple of days early on. "'Why is he here? What's going on? Is the movie in trouble? Is he directing footage from the second one?' All of this crazy-ass speculation."

As always, most Hollywood news tidbits get overblown, and little stories like this get made into much more exciting stories than they should be. It all started because Soderbergh showed up on set, and various crew started tweeting about his appearance, which was kindling for the rumor mill until The Playlist confirmed his involvement. So then what is the real story behind all of this? Soderbergh himself explains it all:

"Back in April, [The Hunger Games director] Gary [Ross] -- who is a close friend of mine [and] I've exchanged creative favors with non-stop over the last 15 years -- when he got the boards for the shoot … called me and said, 'Hey, first week of August, I got these two days of second unit, Is there any way you can come down and help me out? Because I'd rather have you do it than hire somebody who I don't know,' " Soderbergh recalled. "I said, 'Actually, that works out.' We'll just be finishing Contagion and prepping Magic Mike, and yeah, it could be fun."

And that's that. Sodebergh came down and helped out for a few days, also reiterating that he isn't adding any of his own style, of course, since that's not a second unit director's job. His "duty" was to "come in and duplicate exactly what Gary and [cinematographer] Tom Stern … are doing, to mimic as closely as I can to their aesthetic." He adds, "if I've done my job properly … by design, you won't be able to tell what I did because it's supposed to cut seamlessly into what they're doing." Sounds about right; I'm surprised anyone thought otherwise. It might be because most don't seem to know what exactly a second unit director does.

Let's toss in some explanation for those who don't know (via Wikipedia). The second unit is a team that shoots subsidiary footage for a motion picture. Its work is distinct from that of the first unit, which shoots all scenes involving principal actors. Second unit footage typically includes establishing shots, close-ups, inserts, and cutaways. I was excited to see that Soderbergh, one of my favorite filmmakers, was helping out, but I wasn't expecting this to have any impact on the film itself. Lionsgate has The Hunger Games scheduled for release on March 23rd, 2012 early next year and just debuted the first teaser trailer earlier this week.

Find more posts: Hype, Movie News, Opinions



Th movie needs a better release date if you ask me.

Darrenedwards88 on Sep 3, 2011


I just hope nothing goes wrong with this movie.

Joshua Yamada on Sep 3, 2011


After watching the trailer for Haywire, I was kinda hoping that Steven helps out with the action scenes, even though it's not his job. That would pretty cool.

Mr. Foe on Sep 3, 2011


i love this series. please don't turn it into twilight.

very purpley on Sep 3, 2011


Soderbergh is "working on a film that most don't even care about?" Are you living under a rock?

Drew Kerr on Sep 4, 2011


"..yet was working second unit on a film that most don't even care about.."most ignorant thing I've heard all day. 

c10j on Sep 4, 2011


I'm sorry, but it's honestly true. I've been talking with a lot of people who just don't care about it or care to see it, especially after that first teaser trailer. That may change with time, but for now, most people I know aren't that interested...

Alex Billington on Sep 4, 2011


You're likely talking to the wrong target market man. This movie's been tipped to fill the void when Twilight ends. Between the Twihards and the Harry Potter crowd, saying a LOT of people care is an understatement.

NY Lime on Sep 4, 2011


The "Hunger Games" trilogy is probably the most influential and best selling teen market books since the Twilight series ended. I read the first two and they were EXCELLENT and nothing even remotely like Twilight. And I am FAR above the target age for these books -- my son recommended them. I suggest you do your homework and find out about these books. It ain't the "I Am Number Four" crap or angst-ridden Twilight. Alex, I don't know who you've been spending time with, but given the immense amount of press leading up to who would direct this film and the casting, you've got to get out there more or hang out with far more knowledgeable people.

Drew Kerr on Sep 4, 2011


Alex: I suggest you read this story just posted on the LA Times to get background on this film and why it is a big one. Many thanks.

Drew Kerr on Sep 13, 2011

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