Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gary Ross will NOT, I repeat will NOT, direct Catching Fire

UPDATED 4/12/12
A couple of days ago, I read on Deadline, and posted below, that despite rumors to the contrary, Gary Ross would be back to direct Catching Fire.
Sigh.
The Daily Mail is now reporting that nope, Ross won't direct. #2 is due in theatres Oct 2013 and Ross says that's not enough time.
“Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire,” said Ross. “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.”
The director, who also co-wrote the film script, added that directing The Hunger Games was “the happiest experience of my professional life”, and he told Lionsgate Studio that he appreciated their support “in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise”. The Hunger Games was Ross’s first directorial effort since Seabiscuit in 2003.
The search for a new director begins immediately, as production for Catching Fire starts in August. Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of Slumdog Millionaire, has written the screenplay. The existing cast, including the widely praised Jennifer Lawrence who plays the action heroine Katniss, have all confirmed they will star in the film.
As The Hunger Games continues its complete domination in the box office wars, there's been debate as to whether director Gary Ross will be back for number two, Catching Fire. Hollywood know it all (I mean that in a good way) Nikki Finke at Deadline.com has the inside story and prediction that Ross who is currently on vacation will indeed be back.

"Despite reports that have spread like wildfire on showbiz websites, we hear from multiple sources close to Catching Fire that director Gary Ross has not formally withdrawn from The Hunger Games sequel. Ross is off on a family vacation and couldn’t be reached, but these internet reports that described his withdrawal as definitive are simply not accurate.
There have also been reports about a tense standoff between Lionsgate and Fox over the sequel services of Jennifer Lawrence, who will reprise her role as Mystique in the sequel to X-Men: First Class. That has also been somewhat overblown; Fox had an option deal on Lawrence way before she signed on to play Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. That put Fox in first position. Since Lionsgate has a Catching Fire script done, Fox allowed them to go first.
As for the notion that Ross would simply toss away the opportunity to return and direct Catching Fire because of a salary squabble, the logic seems flawed. The Seabiscuit director knows the benefit of riding in a winner and not switching horses midstream. Ross lobbied hard to get The Hunger Games and turned it into the biggest hit of his directing career. Before that, he developed several serious historical dramatic projects under his deal at Universal that didn’t get off the ground. Staying for a sure-fire hit and a sequel that audiences actually want to see makes a lot of sense for Ross, particularly given how active the filmmaker has been in the construction of Catching Fire.
Ross and author Suzanne Collins have been working on this since last November. They drafted Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy back then, when the Hunger Games post production schedule became too arduous for Ross to see through a plan to write the outline and then pen the sequel script with Collins. We’ve heard that Ross developed a tight bond with everyone involved in the film, including cast. Unless the deal making completely implodes, we expect to see Ross behind the camera when the sequel gets underway. "

3 comments:

  1. That's too bad - I thin it would be good to have the same director so there'd be continuity with the series.

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    1. I think so too - like Peter Jackson with LOTR and The Hobbit. I'm surprised that he blames lack of time for his decision though. The sequel timing has probably been known for awhile and I would have thought if he really wanted to do it, he could have talked them into pushing it back to the holiday season, buying himself a couple more months. I wonder if it's the ultimate negotiation ploy - he's made the studio a ton of cash, after all - or if he's simply burnt out and would prefer to do something else. Making movie is grueling; downtime is mandatory!

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  2. This is good scoop. I have to pass these things on to my 13yo daughter because she has Hunger Games mania(!)

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