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Toldyou: Gary Ross Is Not Directing 'The Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire'

by The Playlist
April 10, 2012 10:29 PM
  • |
Hunger Games Gary Ross

Well, we told you. All the hedging from PR reps and Lionsgate could not delay the inevitable. Gary Ross is leaving the “The Hunger Games” franchise like we said he would. No, he’s leaving “after all” and no, it wasn’t premature. Like other media outlets will now corroborate, Ross told Lionsgate, thanks, but no thanks, but the studio side-stepped (but didn't deny) our report to try for an 11th hour salvo. But our report last week was premature if you were some of the media on the outside that was eating the sandwich that was being sold (Deadline, et al), but like we said, this was always Ross' intention.

Here's part of 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.

CAA, Ross PR and Lionsgate told everyone the same thing last Friday. “As far as we know, he’s still in negotiations” and that’s the line that they pushed on us. Note, Lionsgate asked for our contact info, we passed it on and they did not call, deny the story or ask us to take it down. Reps for Ross were also surprised, and towed the "negotiations" line, but were out of the loop as well, as the director was on holiday with his family this weekend and apparently could not be reached. But the truth of the matter is before he went on that holiday, Ross already had drafted his letter of intent to Lionsgate which essentially read like this: “Thanks, but no thanks, it’s been fun, but I’d like to do other things now. Thanks for the opportunity, etc.”

There’s no ill-will here or anything, but despite other outlets drawing doubt (and Deadline towing the studio line, something they pride themselves on never doing), this was the story from day one. Ross had completed his mission and just wanted to move on. Lionsgate knew this, but wanted to get all their ducks in a row before messaging this out to everyone -- i.e., putting the right studio spin on it -- and we can’t blame them. All companies wanna protect their interests.

Either way, Gary Ross, is not directing “Catching Fire” like we told you he wouldn’t. Exclusive?

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  • Reader | April 11, 2012 2:01 PMReply

    My first time reading an article on "The Playlist" as well.


    An immature, badly written - just plain annoying, article. This entire thing could have been one sentence really, but they drag it on with about twenty different ways of saying the same point: "WE are right, YOU are wrong" If there ever was a spot-on example of self gratification - This is it.

    Do the PLAYLIST writers realize that by acting like such babies in their article, that it takes away all of their credibility? This article actually makes me WANT to read Deadline. Based on this article it seems like this is the first time ever that "The Playlist" was right about something. Why else would they spend so much time emphasizing it, over and over and over again?

    This is schoolyard material. I will not be reading anything from this unprofessional website ever again and thought it necessary to voice my opinion clearly here. This is not good reporting. This article sums up exactly the demise of what proper reporting should be, and why no one fifty years from now will even know what a newspaper is, or what a journalist actually does.

    Hey PLAYLIST: "Thanks, but no thanks, this was not fun at all, but I'd like to read other things now."

  • a | April 12, 2012 10:27 AM

    Jesus Christ. It's a fucking BLOG. It's not the NY Times. Calm down.

  • K | April 11, 2012 12:40 PMReply

    This is my first visit to The Playlist. I'm so excited to find that there is an Entertainment Industry Website for 9-year-olds written by 9-year-olds. You kids are AWESOME!!

  • Mike | April 11, 2012 10:10 AMReply

    Pretty cunty reporting.

  • David | April 11, 2012 9:53 AMReply

    Oh no, whatever will we do without Ross running through the woods shaking his camera like he's having a seizure?

  • Daryl Hannah | April 11, 2012 5:02 AMReply

    Congratulations on this, guys. I look forward to your "Top five prospective directors of Catching Fire" post, as well as your "Top Five moments in the 'Will Gary Ross direct Catching Fire kerfuffle" post.

    I for one would like to suggest Lena Dunham.

    Come Armageddon

  • Matthew | April 11, 2012 2:13 AMReply

    Apparently the man is a fool - He's giving up working on what is arguably going to be the biggest movie of 2013 and one that would provide a chance to make him filthy rich so he can pursue 'other projects' - Like what? what could possibly enhance his career more than this?

  • an observer | April 11, 2012 10:53 AM

    Really Matthew
    He is no fool, " a fool and is money is often parted", if you understood money, it is good but there is lot less freedom with money than you can imagine.

  • josh | April 11, 2012 9:13 AM

    Disagree Jasmine. It was a great film and I think it will stand the test of time.

  • jasmine | April 11, 2012 8:09 AM

    He's smart to leave now. Get out on a high note. People are already starting to pick apart THG and realize it's not so great as the initial reviews made it out to be. Critics will be much harder on the sequels, and it's also possible, and even likely, that the box office will drop for the second one, as happened with Harry Potter.

  • Christian | April 11, 2012 2:54 AM

    Really, Matthew? Is money and fame all you can think about here?

  • Gabon | April 11, 2012 2:07 AMReply

    Kudos to the Playlist. Love this site.

  • hank | April 11, 2012 1:11 AMReply

    that's right. JUST LIKE WE SAID HE WOULD.

  • Mony | April 11, 2012 12:48 AMReply

    As someone who reads both this site and deadline. I'm loving this. I do read The Playlist more and you guys are cool, so when you had the exclusive, I didn't think you were lying, but had my doubts after seeing the deadline article.

    However, you were correct all along. Good Job!

  • Huffy | April 11, 2012 12:40 AMReply

    LOL, who knew trade journalism could be so bitchy.

  • Rah-al | April 11, 2012 12:32 AMReply

    Ha ha. Toldja Deadline Hollywood! Burn baby burn. Those guys are becoming mouth pieces for the studio's PR people.

  • camus80 | April 10, 2012 11:29 PMReply

    Rian Johnson, Duncan Jones, Rupert Sanders, J Blakeson, and Joe Cornish would all be good candidates to direct catching Fire.

  • Kindred Spirit | April 11, 2012 2:41 AM

    Matt Reeves too. Hell, I'm just naming directors I like... no idea if they would even be interested/up for the challenge.

  • Kindred Spirit | April 11, 2012 2:27 AM

    I'll throw in Joe Wright... but that would probably veer too close to "Hanna" territory for him. I would like to see a woman take control. Patti Jenkins, obviously but even someone as left field as Dee Rees would be fine.

  • Marko | April 11, 2012 1:12 AM

    It'll probably end up being Joe Johnston.

  • Huffy | April 11, 2012 12:42 AM

    Don't really care about the franchise one way or the other but in terms of the best fit I'd go with Alfonso Cuaron. Talented director who has shown that he can nail multiple genres as well as succeed within the confines of an established franchise.

  • dave | April 10, 2012 11:38 PM

    Johnson, Jones, and Cornish seem very unlikely.

  • Kindred Spirit | April 10, 2012 11:03 PMReply

    Must you lump Told and You together... it's not a word and it's really ruining the smugness of this post. It's either Told You! Or Told! You! Or you could be uber creative and spell it out T-O-L-D Y-O-U!!! (three exclamation points for emphasis).

  • a | April 10, 2012 11:37 PM

    It's a play on Deadline's "Toldja."

  • Christopher Bell | April 10, 2012 11:05 PM

    You truly are a kindred spirit.

  • RegShow | April 10, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    The franchise will continue. I stand by my previous comment that Gavin O'Connor would be the perfect guy to take over Catching Fire.

  • Ummm | April 10, 2012 10:55 PMReply

    The version of this Playlist story that ended up in my RSS feed is so much more entertaining, as it has many more paragraphs of gratuitous swipes at Deadline and Dave Poland (described as "the self-appointed dad of the internet"), as well as the now-customary WTF-inducing Playlist typos (such as the wannabe self-congratulatory sentence "We messed up their plans and as we first originally reported, Ross won't be coming along for 'Catching the Fire'"). Amusing that all that has been cut and replaced by "There's no ill-will here or anything."

  • Brendon Connelly | April 10, 2012 10:52 PMReply

    Where did half of this story suddenly go? You know, the bit about The Playlist messing up Lionsgate's plans and all that?

  • Travis Hopson | April 10, 2012 10:57 PM

    Yeah, it looks like somebody chopped it in half. And rather quickly because I just read the fuller, much more interesting version not even five minutes ago. What's the deal?

  • Travis Hopson | April 10, 2012 10:51 PMReply

    Truly, you guys should've hit 'em with a much larger "TOLDJA"!!!!!

  • kitcon | April 10, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    It should be EXCLUSIVE all caps. But you can do better than Toldyou.

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