Apr 11, 2012 08:34 AM EST

Confirmed: Gary Ross Will Not Direct Hunger Games Sequel, Catching Fire

Confirmed: Gary Ross Will Not Direct Hunger Games Sequel, Catching Fire
Over the last week there has been a game of will he won't he being played out on many entertainment website. He being director Gary Ross and whether or not he will be back to direct the sequel to the worldwide box office hit The Hunger Games, Catching Fire. The first rumours that he was to walk away from the second film soon spread globally to the dismay of many fans. This was swiftly followed by denial stating he was on a family vacation and could not be reached and so the fans were relieved but now after days of speculation it seems Gary Ross will walk away from a sequel after the director and studio released statements to the effect via Deadline. The statements follow:

Gary 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."

And the Lionsgate statement:

"We're very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. 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."

It must be fair to say that this will bring closer to the will he won't he game, but it sure to spawn another game who will!
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