Speculation about who might takeover Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire has been all over my Alfonso Cuarón Google News Alerts over the last week amid rumours that director Gary Ross was parting ways with the franchise, but that was when they were just rumours.
On Tuesday, Ross confirmed his departure in a statement released by the studio, saying, “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.”
Lionsgate is now searching for a new director and already has a wishlist drawn up. Nicole Sperling (24 Frames) reports:
The master list is seven or eight names long, all men, and all have some significant credits to their name. Lionsgate is basically hoping to to re-create the “Harry Potter” moment when Warner Bros. brought Alfonso Cuaron to direct the third film in the series. (Chris Columbus left after helping the first two.) Cuaron was a creative choice who excited critics, journalists and author J.K. Rowling, who all were interested in what the director of “Y Tu Mama Tambien” would do with the series.
In fact, Cuaron is in the mix for “Catching Fire,” along with David Cronenberg and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, among others. All have been working in the industry for decades and trend more toward darker, indie fare than commercial hits.
Catching Fire is scheduled for release November 22, 2013. So we know that Lionsgate wants Cuarón, Iñárritu, and Cronenberg, among others, but do they want Lionsgate back? And more importantly, the tight production schedule?
MTV final update:
The reaping has concluded, with Francis Lawrence officially named victor in the contest to direct “Catching Fire,” according to a release from Lionsgate.