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Gary Ross will not join Katniss & Crew for CATCHING FIRE!

Hey folks, Harry here...  Now that Gary Ross has completely bowed out of the sequel to THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE - the wanton speculation may begin.   Personally I hope they do something great like hire Cameron Crowe - who has always been fairly remarkable with a young cast and who will always keep the emotional balance that I think was slightly askew.   Of course, I haven't read the second book yet.   I think I might start it at REHAB this week.   Just so my wife won't kill me for not being able to speak to me about what happens in it.   

This just got sent out to everywhere - they even included a very classy statement from Gary Ross (inserted below), whom personally I'm glad is leaving the franchise.   One, I didn't feel it was quite a perfect match, thought it is impossible to argue with the box office phenomenon that it has spurred.   What I'm happiest about is that Gary know has a mega-success that he personally launched.

So, Gary - you only ever get a shot in the career like this a few times.   Use it properly.   Make WALLY & PEPPER!!!   Do it!   You've wanted to for the better part of decade and a half...   Let's see that made.   It would blow people away.

Now - here's Gary's statement:

 

GARY ROSS STATEMENT:

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.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 10, 2012, 9:37 p.m. CST

    For reals?

    by Tar Heel

    He's in, he's out, he's in, he's out. Anybody but Rattner now.

  • April 10, 2012, 9:38 p.m. CST

    X3 bring in the Rat.

    by adeceasedfan

  • April 10, 2012, 9:40 p.m. CST

    I will watch Hunger Games eventually...

    by GravyAkira

    How about The Bourn Ultimatum director for the sequel?

  • April 10, 2012, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Why make a movie correctly...

    by zanemn

    When you can just make it fast.

  • April 10, 2012, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Believe it or not

    by Teddy Artery

    Having a director who understands actors and characters is more important for this series, in my opinion. Special effects are really secondary and I also believe the budget should remain constrained. Why waste the money on eye-popping computer animation when it won't add one iota to the appreciation of the movie for the target audience.

  • Than who directs the next 500 million guaranteed film.

  • but you know what? it was awful! harry potter, twilight and this shit series...im not liking where big budgets films are going...this tween market is bringing films to a new low

  • April 10, 2012, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Brad Pitt IS Finnick Odair!!

    by Turd Furgeson

    He was always the actor I pictured in the book... Him OR VIGO!!!!

  • April 10, 2012, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Now can we get Pleasantville 2: into the Third Dimension?

    by Kamaji

  • April 10, 2012, 10:01 p.m. CST

    What about Drew Goddard? Or Justin Lin?

    by Turd Furgeson

    For different reasons... I think Justin Lin could make this as gritty and "Confined" feeling as the book felt.. And Cabin In The Woods is getting great buzz so Drew Goddard????

  • April 10, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Deja Vu!

    by cat_herder

    Haven't I seen this headline before? ;)

  • April 10, 2012, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Pretty apparent who the next Director will be

    by ray a

    The Studio execs

  • April 10, 2012, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Cameron Crowe? Um...

    by PotSmokinAlien

    Maybe if the second book was a rambling, touchy-feely romance with lightly comic interludes. But it's not. It's a dystopian action movie, like the first book. I know-- weird, right? Cuaron. Cuaron. Cuaron. It should be Alfonso Cuaron. They could make that decision on the sole fact that the preview could then say "From the visionary director of CHILDREN OF MEN and HARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN," which if you work in marketing in LA is a phrase so 'geektastic' that makes the staff of your entire firm experience spontaneous cluster orgasms. If they must treat this movie as a business transaction then so be it-- this is one of those times when the best and most appropriate director for the job is also the one who's most likely to turn a profit. Ahh, who am I kidding? They'll give it to a European guy who's never directed anything before.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Cameron Crowe, are you freakin' kidding me?

    by matthooper8

    Great, a director recommendation from someone who didn't like the first one. Wow, what a joke. Are you fuckin' serious? Let him make Vanilla Sky 2 or Elizabethtown 2 or some other piece of shit sequel. Don't fuck up a potentially great franchise that is off to a great start. By the way,all you douchebags 18-35 who live at home and crap on the film even though you probably havn't seen it. Open your mind for a second to things that every other douche shits on. Maybe someday you'll be with an actual woman.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:20 p.m. CST

    It will be some hack director

    by Toe Jam

    Who else can they find on such short notice? Still, I liked "The Hunger Games," but thought the direction was the weakest part of the movie. The books are YA, and are pretty much screenplays with extra words. Just find someone who can actually direct and edit action sequences, and it'll be just as good as the first.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Here's hopin' the next movie will have 100% less shaky cam.

    by Jet Jaguar

  • April 10, 2012, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Cuaron seems like a logical choice

    by seasider

    He's proven he can work with teen actors and would be able to maintain the faded color look of the first film. Other possibilities: Neil Blomkamp Andrew Adamson D.J Caruso

  • Brett Ratner is keeping his phone charged and ringer on.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:28 p.m. CST

    In less than nine months!

    by tomandshell

  • April 10, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    What about David Slade?

    by Jet Jaguar

    He directed 30 Days of Night and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. He's no stranger to helming blockbusters based on lackluster girl fiction.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Begin the thawing of Irvin Kershner

    by heroic_duo

    Or Cuaron. Whichever is easiest

  • April 10, 2012, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Cameron Crowe

    by DrunkyMcLush

    Horrible idea for a film like this. Yes, he'd be great at balancing the emotional aspects, but I don't think he could handle directing action. My personal choice would be Andrew Dominik. He can create real atmosphere with striking visuals and solid emotion.

  • April 10, 2012, 10:57 p.m. CST

    How about...

    by RogueWarrior65

    Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuarón?

  • April 10, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Finnick Odair =

    by Turd Furgeson

    CHARLIE HUNNAM.... Not too expensive, VERY VERY GOOD ACTOR and charasmatic as hell... My wife says "Make it so!"

  • April 10, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    @yourmomsboxreturns

    by Ryan Little

    So yeah, what is it with this REHAB thing? Didn't he already do that? Also, Cameron Crowe is a terrible choice.

  • April 10, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Absolute shame

    by theblackvegtable

    He did a great job with that film, I really enjoyed it. You'd think studio's would have learned by now that sometimes it pays off not to rush these things out. They had a great team and all they needed was a bit of time to do it right. Guess that's movie making... sigh

  • April 10, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    THE HUNGER GAMES did suck, right?

    by MooseMalloy

    Am I truly missing out on something by not totally getting into this franchise? Is total devotion to a new property the hot trend to follow? Someone please tell me how to live my life now!

  • April 10, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Totally!

    by Ryan Little

    Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuarón?

  • April 10, 2012, 11:08 p.m. CST

    I agree the direction was the weakest part

    by Teddy Artery

    of the movie... well, the cinematography wasn't really very good either. The lead actress was surprisingly effective, but the other two male "love interests" were dull, shallow and apparently didn't understand their characters very well. One more thing... What is with the names of the characters? They're terrible. Even in hundreds of years names (especially LAST NAMES) aren't going to suddenly become some of the most ridiculous sounding names heard since "Art Vandelay" or "David Puddy" (fake names were always the biggest weak spot in Seinfeld's scripts).

  • April 10, 2012, 11:17 p.m. CST

    How bout Danny Boyle?

    by Sound Designer Dan

    Trainspotting, Sunshine, Slumdog, 127 Hours And he's worked well with Beaufoy in the past.

  • April 10, 2012, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Mass pop delusion dictate sheep's belief that Hunger Games is "good".

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    and that John Carter isn't. Pathetically ineffectual and pusillanimous pretend friend to animals! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyhU2mVyFAk

  • April 10, 2012, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Don't get the Hunger Games love...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Read the books and liked them. The first movie is badly put together though. I also dislike how this movie became so huge... Tweens. So it means HG can never be made fun of... Because it made so much money. While John Carter(A much stronger movie) gets bashed everywhere because people were too stupid to see it. Bull shit. Next director should just hold the fucking camera still. If he wasn't busy already I'd say pick up Kenneth Branagh. Other options I'd look at are Gavin O'Connor(Warrior). And Ben Affleck... Yeah you heard me.

  • April 10, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Maybe The Sequel Will Actually Be Watchable...

    by DeckardB26354

    instead of looking like it was filmed during an earthquake..... for every scene.

  • April 11, 2012, 12:08 a.m. CST

    WHO CARES?

    by Blood Simple

    Also, who cares?

  • April 11, 2012, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I CARE!

    by Queefer Sutherland

    Not really. I just wanted to come by and see my bitches.

  • April 11, 2012, 12:19 a.m. CST

    In defense of CBS after school specials.

    by adeceasedfan

    Safe touching is not BORRRRING. And if you drink beer you'll get pregnant.

  • April 11, 2012, 12:21 a.m. CST

    Yayyyy!

    by vettebro

    Good. I hate shakey cam. Let's hope the new director doesn't use fucking shakey cam like this kook did. My daughters will force me to see the sequels. I don't want to go home with a headache. Also, more blood please. : )

  • April 11, 2012, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Gareth Evans to direct

    by Dubster32

  • April 11, 2012, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Ugh. Tragic.

    by sweeneydave

  • April 11, 2012, 12:55 a.m. CST

    sad news

    by drave117

    I was really hoping they would work out a way for him to do it. And to the person who keeps complaining about the dogs popping out of nowhere, the ENTIRE ARENA is manufactured from the ground up. Every part of it is under direct control, and the ground is littered with cylinders and tunnels just under the surface, all of which can be used to deliver different kinds of threats to the arena. The dogs were already created, and releasing them was basically the equivalent of loading and firing a torpedo.

  • April 11, 2012, 1:11 a.m. CST

    also, I will not be in this movie.

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    Just for those who are keeping track of who is NOT being cast in this movie - I am not. officially.

  • April 11, 2012, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Give it to Ratner!

    by Anthony Torchia

    I'm kidding, I wouldn't wish ratboy on anyone, except maybe Robin Williams Or Eddie Murphy

  • April 11, 2012, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Alfonso Cuaron!!!

    by dkent

    Please for the love of God!!!

  • April 11, 2012, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Tommy Wiseau!

    by LizardMan

    Nuff said

  • April 11, 2012, 3:04 a.m. CST

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HIRE ALFONSO CUARON!

    by HASBEER_WILLCHEET

    HE SHOULDVE DIRECTED DEATHLY HALLOWS AND THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!!!!!! ALFONSO CUARON > GOD

  • April 11, 2012, 4:01 a.m. CST

    I don't want it good. I want it Tuesday.

    by Douglas Kirk

    The film was as weak as water. Up there with the Woosy Twilight exercise.

  • April 11, 2012, 4:09 a.m. CST

    Danny Boyle, Paul Greengrass or Alfonso Cuaron.

    by loafroaster

  • April 11, 2012, 4:22 a.m. CST

    I prefered the build up to the games.

    by john

    The rest of the movie was a studio trying not to offend anyone with PG13 kills and unbelievable love shit. Battle Royale laughs at you.

  • April 11, 2012, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Just like Harry Potter, you got to ring the changes...

    by Sulis

    Without introducing too many spoilers, there is a Harry Potter-like aspect in the sense that the same kind of thing happens again in both sequels, so having some directorial variety might make sense purely in terms of stopping the damn thing feeling repetitive. But I liked the first film, as did my kids - and no-one was moaning about the director. As long as a director doesn't actually get in the way of a good story, that's generally the case. Yes, it could have been directed better - but what movie couldn't?

  • April 11, 2012, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Please don't waste Cuarón on YA bullshit.

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

  • April 11, 2012, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Takashi Miike

    by hspahr

    Now that would be bad-ass

  • April 11, 2012, 6:32 a.m. CST

    GOOD

    by Ryan

    Fucking done with shaky cam shit. http://batstud.blogspot.com/

  • April 11, 2012, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Perhaps they should go with Martin Campbell...

    by Sean1701

    Goldeneye & Casino Royale anyone?

  • April 11, 2012, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Michael Bay

    by jackbauerpowerhour

    Lots of explosions in Catching Fire, make it a Michael Bay a thon.

  • April 11, 2012, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Please hire someone who can actually film action scenes ...

    by Judge Briggs

    I want to see what's going on, please. Walked into that movie with a headache and left with a fucking migraine. True story ... The movie's action scenes and first 20 minutes were unbearable! TOO MANY CLOSEUPS!

  • April 11, 2012, 8:20 a.m. CST

    "You only ever get a shot in the career like this a few times"?

    by Thomas

    Fuck me.

  • April 11, 2012, 8:39 a.m. CST

    I've never read it, but the Book has to be better than the movie.

    by Darth_Kaos

    Saw it last weekend, and as usual, it was mediocre. Keeping steady with the current trend in Hollywood. I"m glad Ross is gone. I've heard the second book is the best of the three, so they really need to someone with some chops. I don't believe in God, but I pray that Prometheus and TDKR saves my summer. Avengers, for some reason, just isn't doing it for me.

  • April 11, 2012, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Yeah that "Dogs on a Holodeck" scene was jarring to me too

    by kidicarus

    It seems like everything else was near-future plausible stuff, (except the hovercrafts) and creatures being generated on an instant just didn't make sense to me for a society that still needs coal to run.

  • April 11, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Hunger Games sucked

    by Transhuman

    don't waste a good director on it

  • April 11, 2012, 9:51 a.m. CST

    "I would also like to thank my amazing camera man...

    by George Zip

    who drank twelve cups of coffee before he came to work every day..."

  • These guys' shaky-cam will make Ross' look like Kubrick Steadicam in comparison.

  • No offense.. but Brad Pitt, and definitely Viggo are too DAMN old for the role.. Did you read the book? Finnick is only a few years older than Katniss and Peeta, 24 if I remember correctly. Brad Pitt definitely in his younger years would have pulled off the pretty boy part, and brought the acting talent to match. But no.. these guys are way wayyy too old for that part, unless they decide to completely rewrite it (not out of the question of course). Honestly can't think of any particular actor who could pull Finnick off. He seems to be written imposingly large.. but you do go a bit deeper with him in the third book honestly the role of Finnick as written in the second book is, and Johanna even, minor characters (at best). I wouldn't even, in the second book, call them characters.. kind of like random people who just pop up once or twice in the movie, kind of like most of the cameos in "American Reunion".

  • April 11, 2012, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Gary Ross Was To Hunger Games What Chris Columbus Was To Harry Potter

    by HateThaNet

    Both made very mediocre adaptations and their best contributions were casting their stars (Lawrence and Radcliffe).

  • April 11, 2012, 10:37 a.m. CST

    and on the next director..

    by mcgillj

    Actually I was thinking, and I haven't seen anything from him for quite a while. But my choice for director of the third film would be Alex Proyas who directed "The Crow" and "Dark City". As the stories and the trilogy does progressively hit darker territory, and honestly I can not see them filming "Mockingjay" as written.. as much as I kind of like quite a few elements of the book (not all of them) I don't see that working as an entertaining film. Catching Fire shot in the vein/style of "Dark City".. with a bit more vibrance could be unique. The third film though should have a more steady and accomplished, I think, dramatic director hand.. actually? I think after Thor Kenneth Branaugh in a way would be the perfect choice on some level.. with some of the themes juggled about in the final chapter, someone to give the film some real gravitas, rather than shaky cam violence.. but who isn't afraid to go in for it either.

  • April 11, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Alfonso Cuaron is not going to do a Hunger Games sequel

    by lv_426

    I am betting that his upcoming Gravity with two big movie stars (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock), will do really well at the theater. Seriously. It's an action/thriller about two astronauts caught in orbit above the Earth after their ship/space station is destroyed. It is sci-fi/adventure that everyone can get into, as we still have lots of blokes out there that can't stomach aliens and faraway exotic planets in their movies. Plus, if Prometheus does really well, it will stoke some more fire for grittier and more believable sci-fi flicks about space. I doubt Cuaron will decide to get sucked into something like Hunger Games. I'd suggest maybe Duncan Jones. He still is working his way up as a smart genre filmmaker. He can handle sci-fi elements well. He can do action and hold the camera steady. He can write his own stuff as well as work well with material written by someone else (Moon was his own script, but Source Code was by a different writer). He'd be a good choice and then it would help him move up the ladder towards bigger more ambitious films due to this being a sure fire hit for whatever director does a good job with the material.

  • April 11, 2012, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Flawed start, but not a false start.

    by impetus

    Strongly agree with the sentiments that the film was poorly shot. The shaky-cam nonsense was totally unnecessary and distracting, and - let's not mince words - completely unprofessional. This is a traditional narrative, not a live-observer/found-footage thing. It also felt overly long - too much initial setup and explanation. Yes, it establishes the setting and characters, but it sure took its time. Some of that stuff can be fleshed out in an extended cut for the fans, LOTR style. Compare to Battle Royale, where the narrative is super-tight. Most of the backdrop explained in a couple paragraphs of opening text. The setup is just enough to get things rolling, and is actually more shocking due to its quick escalation (both to the viewer and the panic-stricken characters). Then the rest of the film is spent on the meat: watching how the kids behave. I certainly don't think this series is a lost cause, though. Despite its flaws Hunger Games was a decent story with a really great protagonist. Plus it's past what I assume is the worst/hardest part, setting up the dystopian backdrop. I'd love to see a great director like Cuaron run with the concept and make something better.

  • April 11, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    I...

    by mdk

    ...Smell a Ratner!

  • April 11, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Shaky cam and pg-13 tempered violence

    by Darth Macchio

    So will this be a "new normal" then? Upping the bloodless violence by clever use of shaky-cam? Themes make for a trend and trends may eventually reach ubiquity. Profit margins involved almost make it inevitable...unless... We need to be more vocal about this shit I think. I'd rather have less violence than have it hidden or tempered by shaky-cam. There's a certain amount most of us can take, moreso if its conceptual within the film's story (Cloverfield, Chronicle, etc) but for regularly filmed cinema (Hunger Games, Bourne trilogy, etc) I think it's getting to be a crutch and if it picks up for tempering violence in more open ratings, we're in for a LOT more shaky-cam. Hollywood smells profit in the theater like a shark smells blood in the water and it will push even things that would just get an R (and show the violence) into things that can garner a larger audience with PG-13 and I just cannot believe that this "violence tempered by shaky-cam" technique will not be used more and more. I haven't seen HG yet - don't plan on seeing in the theater but will rent/cable it but review after review (prof and amateur) have both said shaky-cam was used far too much and to bad, distracting effect.

  • April 11, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Spielberg poularized the skaky cam technique

    by seasider

    with Saving Private Ryan but the intention was not to trivialize the violence that was going on. Shaky cam is now one of the new tricks directors use to get a PG-13 rating.

  • April 11, 2012, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Sookie's brother IS Finnick

    by Jamie Land

    Ryan Kwanten/ Jason Stackhouse from True Blood for Finnick. You KNOW it makes sense.

  • April 11, 2012, 2:02 p.m. CST

    I saw let Boborci direct it. It's time.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • April 11, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Hire his non-union Mexican equivalent!

    by jinste

    Sorry folks-but I felt we needed a Simpsons line at this point

  • April 11, 2012, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Breaking News: Hunger Games gets new director

    by LiquidHotMagma

    It's Josh Brolin from the future ... http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/47539/anyone-want-to-direct-the-hunger-games-sequels

  • April 11, 2012, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Paul Greengrass

    by drew70

    ..so he can do the same hackneyed steadi-cam shite (conveying INTENSITY dontcha know) that gary ross pulled be nice to see a fight scene where you can actually SEE the fight...will someone tell the next director to pull the camera back a little so that we can see some you know...ACTION as for gary ross: Pleasantville 2 (a town in 3-d) PLEASE

  • April 11, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    The next Hunger Games should star Miley Cyrus and Katpiss

    by Joe Plumber

  • April 11, 2012, 4 p.m. CST

    Magic Dogs:

    by buggerbugger

    Well, **duh,** why do you think they need all of that fucking coal for in the first place? Magic dogs don't just appear out of nowhere all by themselves. You need serious amounts of coal for that shit.

  • April 11, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    What is next after shakycam?

    by lv_426

    I bet they just say fuck it and defocus the camera lens and shoot a bunch of stuff completely out of focus. Then after that it will be something like the lights go out or are shot out, then the scene of violence progresses in total darkness with just sound. Then the violent sounds of struggle die down and somebody lights a match so we can see the characters faces.

  • April 11, 2012, 5 p.m. CST

    gary ross to employ an epileptic to be camera operator

    by drew70

    storyboards? we don't need no stinkin storyboards!!!!!

  • April 11, 2012, 5:04 p.m. CST

    anyone seen Battle Royale part 2?

    by animas

    I thought about watching it but it has 4.7 on imdb

  • April 12, 2012, 3:32 a.m. CST

    movie sucked. and you all know it.

    by Ld

    every critic that mattered was paid off, and the screaming fans are simply brainwashed.

  • April 12, 2012, 5:38 a.m. CST

    re: "anyone seen Battle Royale part 2?"

    by buggerbugger

    Yup, saw it a few years ago. It's... not very good. From what I can remember of it, it's all about a group of kids who, having become sick of the Battle Royale programme, become a group of terrorists/freedom fighters who blow up random bits of Japan to force the government to end BR.

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