'Hunger' director drops sequel
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Thursday, April 12, 2012
4/12/12 at 5:42 AM
Gary Ross, director of the blockbuster movie "The Hunger Games," announced he will not direct the sequel, multiple sources report.
The Los Angeles Times reports movie company Lionsgate and Ross have parted ways for "Catching Fire."
Wrote Ross in a press statement, "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."
Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire") will write the second film in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' series of novels. The sequel is scheduled for theater release in late 2013, sources report.
Movie cast members reacted in shock at the announcement. Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh) told E! Entertainment news, "I'm heartbroken. He was the perfect person for me for the first movie, because he has this great ability to do the indie thing with the blockbuster thing, and I think everybody wants that combination."
A statement from Lionsgate was supportive, despite rumors that the company and director haggled over the film schedule and other things.
The company said it was "very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct 'Catching Fire,' " and added, "this will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future."
"The Hunger Games" movie recently celebrated a trifecta of sorts when it became the No. 1 book, film and official movie soundtrack in the country.
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346