Amidst news that "The Hunger Games" director Gary Ross was in "tough negotiations" with Lionsgate regarding his contract for the sequel, "Catching Fire," The Playlist is reporting that the helmer has indeed dropped out of the project.
Though we're considering any report a rumor until Lionsgate confirms, we couldn't help but get a case of the sadz thinking that our beloved director may not return. What would this mean for the franchise? Who could fill his shoes? Will he accept a bribe from the Hollywood Crush staff? These are the questions writer Kat Rosenfield and I pondered in a thoroughly comprehensive IM discussion this afternoon. Please read our thoughts, and weigh in with your own in the comments section.
Amy: So, Kat, it appears Gary may not be returning to direct "Catching Fire." What's your knee-jerk reaction to the rumors?
Kat: I think it would be something along the lines of, NOOOOOOOOOOOO *tears shirt off and falls to the ground as it begins to rain.*
So you're Team Ross.
Kat: I appreciate continuity in a franchise.
I think there's an unfortunate history here, where switching directors in mid-stream can make things disturbingly uneven.
Amy: Do you feel like that was the case with "Twilight" or "Harry Potter"?
Kat: Yes! I was particularly thinking of the terrible juxtaposition of "Harry Potter"/"Azkaban" with the bummer that was "Goblet of Fire."
Amy: HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL!?! But seriously, I'll be disappointed too if the news is true. Gary seemed to have such a good understanding and passion for the franchise.
Kat: What I'm wondering is, if it's true, will the next director attempt to keep Gary's vision going?
I can just picture Tim Burton coming in and saying, "Okay folks, number one was fun and all, but 'Catching Fire'? WILL BE ENTIRELY DONE IN CLAYMATION."
Amy: Claymation Johnny Depp would probably fit well in the Capitol.
Kat: He'd be worshiped like a deity. As would Helena Bonham Carter, now that I think about it.
Amy Our work here is done. But there are actually a number of directors I could see stepping in. Steven Soderbergh was a second-unit director on "Hunger Games." So he's already familiar with the world of Panem. And his films always have a stylish flair, fitting for the Capitol.
Kat: Plus we know he can work well with a big, diverse ensemble cast.
Kat: So, okay, Soderbergh: thumbs up!
Amy: Also, Debra Granik directed Jennifer in "Winter's Bone." Which has that same bleak, survival aesthetic. And Jen did get an Oscar nod for that film.
Kat: Yes! I would love to see Debra on board for "Mockingjay," actually, for exactly that reason. Although "Catching Fire"... if I remember right, that has some pretty fancifiul shizz going down.
Amy: The jungle! More hybrid crazy creatures!
Kat: And the clockwork arena! That's going to take some artistry.
Amy: For serious. I guess the big question is, Gary is so beloved by fans...Will they embrace a new director, you think?
Kat: Historically, I think we can pretty much count on that—no matter how much fans complain, at the end of the day, they want their movie. But a new director would really stack the deck in his/her favor by making a big deal about loyalty to the source material. Which I think was Gary's big selling point as well.
Amy: It helped that he, you know, co-wrote the script too. That level of involvement is hard to argue with.
Kat: I know, he was so clearly devoted to the books and to Suzanne Collins' vision.
Ugh, Gary. GARY! DON'T GO!
Amy: I have $3 in my wallet. Do you think that's enough for a bribe?
Kat: Maybe if you promise a sandwich in the bargain.
I hear he likes sandwiches.
(Okay, that's a lie, I've heard no such thing... but everyone likes sandwiches, right?)
Amy: I'm not friends with people who don't like sandwiches; they're the perfect meal.
...And now we're hosting our own version of The Hunger Games.
So in summary: We don't want Gary Ross to leave, but, the franchise can and should carry on without him. Anything else to add?
Kat: If you're making Gary Ross a sandwich can you make me one, too?
Amy: Yes. But I'm not giving you $3.
Kat: Fair enough. And I have nothing more to say about the directorial dilemma. Except that whoever it is, they'd better not blow it.
Amy: Or else.