After a week of seesawing news reports about director Gary Ross’s further participation with the The Hunger Games franchise, we at last have an answer. Ross has decided to move on, leaving studio Lionsgate to find themselves someone to takeover the popular teen-lit adaption franchise.
In a statement released last night, Ross cited the short time he would have to prep the second film in the series, Catching Fire, before it has to be in front of cameras by August in order to accommodate star Jennifer Lawrence’s shooting schedule for Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men: First Class sequel.
Here is the full text of Ross’s 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.