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Lionsgate Is Looking At Cuaron, Cronenberg, Innaritu To Direct ‘Catching Fire’

Following the official news of Gary Ross will not be directing ‘Catching Fire’, it’s no surprise Lionsgate is already short-listing available and suitable directors as potential candidates to direct ‘The Hunger Games’ sequel, ‘Catching Fire’.

LA Times’s 24 Frames reports they have heard from a source that Lionsgate has began to compile a list of directors that will need to please “both the gregarious fans who have turned the movie into such a juggernaut and, perhaps more importantly, appease Suzanne Collins, the author of the three-book series, who was a close collaborator with Ross during his tenure on the project.”

Alfonso Cuarón

Cuaron entered the blockbuster genre with “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” in 2004, but despite great reviews didn’t stick with the boy wizard beyond the one film. Rather, he took on ambitious fare within the studio system, including Universal Pictures’ “Children of Men.” The Mexican director recently finished production on “Gravity” for Warner Bros. The film, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is about a lone survivor of a space mission trying desperately to return to Earth to reunite with his family.

David Cronenberg

Cronenberg has frequently been offered big commercial gigs over the years, including “Return of the Jedi,” “Top Gun,” and “RoboCop,” only to turn them down for arty, independently produced work, often in the horror genre. Though Cronenberg’s best-known film is still 1986’s “The Fly,” the Canadian director has been making movies for decades, with his most recent work, the adaptation of Don DeLillo’s “Cosmopolis” starring Robert Pattinson, likely to debut in Cannes next month.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

For Inarritu, joining “Catching Fire” would mark a reunion with his producer from the Academy Award-nominated film “Babel” Jon Kilik, who is producing the “Hunger Game” series along with Nina Jacobson. While “Catching Fire” deals with the heavy themes of rebellion and children-on-children violence, it is still significantly lighter than Inarritu’s most recent work, “Biutiful,” the Javier Bardem-starrer that chronicled a dying man’s attempts to make amends.

Visit LA Times’s 24 Frames for the full article.

What do you think of these current short-listed directors Lionsgate has in mind so far?

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Source: LA Times’s 24 Frames via The Hob.

OFFICIAL: Gary Ross Will Not Direct ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Director Gary Ross on the set of 'The Hunger Games'

While E! Online examined what was deterring Gary Ross from returning to direct ‘The Hunger Games’ sequel, Catching Fire, Lionsgate and Gary Ross released official press release this morning (Singapore time) as reported by Deadline to announce Gary Ross will not be directing ‘Catching Fire’.

The official press release from director Gary Ross on leaving ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise is as below:

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.

Official statement from Lionsgate is as below:

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.

We are sad to see Gary Ross go for he was certainly very much passionate about ‘The Hunger Games’ and almost like a fan as much as we are.

Lionsgate should already have director(s) lined up though we certainly hope the director will have passion for the franchise. It is certainly going to be incredibly hard to finish up script and casting in order to start filming in August 2012 and release ‘Catching Fire’ on 22 November 2013.

Personally speaking, besides hype, great reviews for a well made movie will certainly help in box office sales too. May the odds be ever in our and Lionsgate’s favour for time is ticking away as we speak.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Tell us in the comments below!

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

E! Online Examines What’s Deterring Gary Ross From ‘Catching Fire’

It’s no secret regarding the drama that surrounded between Gary Ross yet to be locked down for ‘Catching Fire’. The Playlist shocked fans with their exclusive on Gary Ross will not be returning to direct ‘Catching Fire’ but reports from Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter showed Gary Ross is still in midst of negotiations with Lionsgate.

What exactly is keeping Gary Ross from returning to direct ‘Catching Fire’?

E! Online examines what might be the cause below.

At first, it was thought that Ross was holding out solely for more cash. After all, he earned a relatively low $3 million to do the first installment—on a movie that has raked in 150 times that worldwide—plus 5 percent of the gross.

But as the beef continued to rot, we’ve learned it’s not just about money. Yes, Ross reportedly wants a raise.

But it’s also about “politics.”

What’s the code for? Well, says Ken Basin, an entertainment attorney at Greenberg Glusker, most likely, it’s about power, and, on a smaller scale, schedule.

“I definitely see this as code for control and how the creative process is going to play out,” Basin tells this B!tch. “The studio is asking to work on a very compressed schedule. They currently have a 4-month window to get a script ready, and Ross may not want to commit to a project whose script may not be very good.”

The latest rumblings in industry rags seem to suggest the same sticking point.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate wants Ross & Co. to return to the arena in August, so that star Jennifer Lawrence can wrap in time to shoot the sequel to X-Men: First Class in January.

Experienced directors are less likely to let themselves to be rushed like that, industry experts tell me. And Ross does have some freedom to negotiate; unlike Lawrence and the other principal actors, Ross was not locked down contractually to return for Catching Fire.

But if Ross does leave—and we should know very, very shortly—fans shouldn’t necessarily worry.

“In theory, if they bring in another director, they will bring someone cheaper,” Basin predicts. “Likely, someone who doesn’t have quite the level of experience or cache, someone willing to make more concessions.”

Translation: someone willing to work fast enough to get that sequel in the can before the end of the year. The movie might suffer creatively, but at least the franchise won’t lose heat. And that’s incredibly important, Basin points out—perhaps just as important as a halfway decent script.

“Ross has clearly shown he knows how to work with these actors and the source material, and you don’t want to part with that lightly,” Basin tells me. “But at the same time, Lionsgate needs to strike while the iron is hot. It’s not good for the franchise if fans have to wait three years until the next installment.”

Head over to E! Online for the full article.

Would you rather wait a longer time then the scheduled 22 November 2013 for ‘Catching Fire’ or for them to rushed it through that may result in a subpar movie? Tell us in the comments below!

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Source: E! Online via My Hunger Games.

Deadline: Gary Ross Has Not Withdrawn From ‘Catching Fire’

The ground-shattering rumour of yesterday was Gary Ross will not be directing ‘The Hunger Games’ seuqel, ‘Catching Fire’.

Director Gary Ross on the set of 'The Hunger Games'

Deadline has heard from sources that Gary Ross has not withdrawn from ‘Catching Fire’.

Despite reports that have spread like wildfire on showbiz websites, we hear from multiple sources close to Catching Fire that director Gary Ross has not formally withdrawn from The Hunger Games sequel. Ross is off on a family vacation and couldn’t be reached, but these internet reports that described his withdrawal as definitive are simply not accurate.

There have also been reports about a tense standoff between Lionsgate and Fox over the sequel services of Jennifer Lawrence, who will reprise her role as Mystique in the sequel to X-Men: First Class. That has also been somewhat overblown; Fox had an option deal on Lawrence way before she signed on to play Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. That put Fox in first position. Since Lionsgate has a Catching Fire script done, Fox allowed them to go first.

As for the notion that Ross would simply toss away the opportunity to return and direct Catching Firebecause of a salary squabble, the logic seems flawed. The Seabiscuit director knows the benefit of riding in a winner and not switching horses midstream. Ross lobbied hard to get The Hunger Games and turned it into the biggest hit of his directing career. Before that, he developed several serious historical dramatic projects under his deal at Universal that didn’t get off the ground. Staying for a sure-fire hit and a sequel that audiences actually want to see makes a lot of sense for Ross, particularly given how active the filmmaker has been in the construction of Catching Fire.

Ross and author Suzanne Collins have been working on this since last November. They drafted Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy back then, when the Hunger Games post production schedule became too arduous for Ross to see through a plan to write the outline and then pen the sequel script with Collins. We’ve heard that Ross developed a tight bond with everyone involved in the film, including cast. Unless the deal making completely implodes, we expect to see Ross behind the camera when the sequel gets underway.

Hopefully this will get cleared up soon.

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

BREAKING: Gary Ross Will Not Be Directing ‘Catching Fire’

Director Gary Ross on the set of 'The Hunger Games'

While we had just reported today Fox will begin filming for ‘X-Men: First Class’ sequel during January 2013 which allows Jennifer Lawrence to film ‘Catching Fire’ starting late summer or early fall 2012. It was also mentioned in our previous report that Gary Ross was negotiating for more money to direct ‘Catching Fire’.

The Playlist exclusively revealed Gary Ross will be leaving ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise and will not be directing ‘Catching Fire’ or the sequels.

Lionsgate is no doubt hunting for a new director as ‘Catching Fire’ is tentatively planned to start filming during August or September 2012 and to be released on 22 November 2013. Time is ticking away.

Though recent trade reports have spun the story as being an issue mostly about money, that’s pretty much a small part of the motivation. Ross has never been a filmmaker that repeats himself (going from satire in “Pleasantville” to horse racing drama in “Seabiscuit” and action in “The Hunger Games“) and we’re told the burning desire simply isn’t there to spend another couple of years with Katniss in the Capitol (evidently, he also liked the first book best). And while the lowball salary offer probably didn’t help, Ross already has a fairly lucrative career as a screenwriter (and rewriter) and money isn’t really the issue. Simply put, the filmmaker is looking to change things up for this next effort.

While the details on what that project will be are still coming together, we’re told it will be something he has written that (ironically) will earn him a better payday that he would’ve received on “Catching Fire.” Essentially, it’s a win-win for Ross, who gets to move on to a project he developed for this fourth feature, and will allow him to do something different.

UPDATE: The Hob got a word from Lionsgate regarding this situation: “This information is not confirmed by the studio.” Looks like we have to wait for the official word from Lionsgate, possibly via press release, to verify if this is real or not real. Larry Richman, a writer and photographer covering film festivals and independent films, notes Lionsgate is most likely negotiating with other directors at this moment and will announce new director to take over directing for ‘Catching Fire’ instead. If this situation is not real, Lionsgate is also likely to verify outright that Gary Ross leaving ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise isn’t true.

What do you think about Gary Ross leaving ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise? Who would you like to direct ‘Catching Fire’? Hold on tight for we will most likely to hear official word from Lionsgate soon.

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘X-Men: First Class’ To Start Filming In January

The Hollywood Reporter had reported previously tension was running high between Lionsgate and Fox due to both studios wanting to start filming for their respective sequels, ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘X-Men: First Class’ sequel during summer and early fall 2012 which could result in schedules conflict for Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence plays the shape-shifting mutant Mystique in ‘X-Men: First Class’ and Katniss Everdeen in ‘The Hunger Games’. Although Jennifer Lawrence is no doubt the star of Lionsgate’s ‘The Hunger Games’, Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Mystique back in summer 2010, which is far earlier than Lionsgate did for the role of Katniss Everdeen. Thus, Fox will have the right exercise the option on Jennifer Lawrence’s contract should scheduling conflict occurs.

A new article from The Hollywood Reporter reveals Fox is deciding to start filming for ‘X-Men: First Class’ sequel in January 2013 which could prevent Jennifer Lawrence having schedule conflicts.

Fox’s acquiescence isn’t a total win for Liosngate. One source says the Hunger Games studio would have liked to “hold” all the actors for seven months in connection with shooting Catching Fire. But that lengthy demand (typical holds are months shorter) is said to have been dropped amid complaints by interested parties, including Fox.

Lionsgate has another problem on hand with Gary Ross negotiating for more money to direct ‘Catching Fire’ according The Hollywood Reporter.

Unlike stars Jennifer LawrenceJosh Hutcherson andLiam Hemsworth, Ross is not signed for a sequel. And negotiations for him to do the first movie were “a terrible experience,” says a source with knowledge of the discussions, because Ross is a seasoned filmmaker (PleasantvilleSeabiscuit) and Lionsgate isn’t accustomed to paying seasoned-filmmaker fees. He ended up taking a relatively low $3 million to write (withBilly Ray and novelist Suzanne Collins) and direct. But he will collect a very remunerative 5 percent of backend.

Sources say Ross, 55, would like a significant raise for a second Hunger Games, but Lionsgate didn’t kick off negotiations with him until about three weeks before the first film’s March 23 opening. By then, with tracking suggesting a huge opening weekend, Ross and his CAA reps were in no hurry to bargain.

Lionsgate has a script from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) that Ross has yet to revise. The studio is in a rush to start the next film in the fall, though Fox might upset Lionsgate’s plan by exercising its option on Lawrence to start another X-Men movie first. (Fox’s option would trump Lionsgate’s hold on Lawrence, say sources.) Adding urgency: Lionsgate already has booked a November 2013 release for Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

With other big literary properties, directors have been seen as fungible. Warner Bros. entrusted the first two Harry Potter films to Chris Columbus before employing a host of other filmmakers, and Summit memorably did not invite Catherine Hardwicke back to direct the second Twilight, despite the success of the first installment. (And Summit’s Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger now run Lionsgate’s film division.)

But Ross will argue that his film was much better received than any in the Twilight series, with an A CinemaScore and an 85 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes in addition to huge worldwide box office. He’ll contend that the movie will play longer and stronger in theaters and that he could direct his pick of other movies should Lionsgate refuse to pony up. (But to state the obvious, Hunger Games‘ bi-gender story line appeals to a wider audience than Twilight.)

It’s always striking when a giant hit leads to anger and hurt feelings in Hollywood, but that seems to be the case here. Nonetheless, sources involved with the franchise are betting that Ross will return. “Ultimately, it will be difficult, and yet everybody will do the sane thing, which is to work it out,” says one. “Everybody will end up unhappy in their own way. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

♦♦♦♦♦

HUNGER GAMES: THR Film Critic Todd McCarthy suggests a few alternative directors:

Kathryn Bigelow: If The Hurt Locker and Bin Laden filmmaker wants a mainstream gig, she could elevate the pedigree of the Katniss saga.

Alfonso Cuaron: He notably upgraded the Harry Potter series with The Prisoner of Azkaban and could work his magic again here.

Mel Gibson: Don’t laugh. If Catching Fire is one-third as exciting as Apocalypto, it would be dynamite. But can Mel do PG-13?

Walter Hill: The old-guard director (The Warriors) could provide style and an authentic feel for action that was missing in the first film.

Nicolas Winding Refn: If modern edginess and unexpected moves are desired for the sequel, then the Drive director could be the man to deliver them.

‘The Hunger Games’, rated PG13, was released on 22 March 2012 and is now available in all cinemas islandwide.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@HungerGamesSG) as well as ‘Like’ us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Via The Hunger Games Trilogy Fansite.

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