This year’s Hunger Games was such a huge hit both at box offices and in the hearts of fans, that the sequel, Catching Fire, was instantly approved and slated to release near the end of next year. Unfortunately, it looks like the man-with-the-plan won’t be coming back in his key role.
Writer and director, Gary Ross’s return has been the subject of speculation for months now. Many people said he wasn’t going to continue his work on the franchise, and it looks like they were right.
Lionsgate released a statement from Ross today in which he explains his decision:
“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.”
With Catching Fire scheduled for November of next year, Lionsgate best get on it. Hopefully, they can find someone who will offer up the same level of quality that Ross brought to the table. It’s been done before (the Harry Potter franchise comes to mind) and no doubt, with so much at stake, Lionsgate will be combing Hollywood looking for the perfect match.
Thanks to Comingsoon.net for the info.