Deadline has reported that Gary Ross, director of the record-breaking The Hunger Games will not stay on to direct the next movie in the trilogy, Catching Fire. His split with the franchise seems incredibly amicable, with Ross calling The Hunger Games:
the happiest experience of my professional life
Lionsgate continue the love-fest in their statement:
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.
So why then, if everything went so well the first time round, is Ross jumping ship? In his statement, Ross lamentably details the reasons for his leaving:
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.
Ah, that old chestnut. Hollywood is a cruel task-mistress but with the news now confirmed that Ross is out, one question remains—who will volunteer as tribute, I mean, who will take up the directing reigns for Catching Fire?
To read the full statements from both Gary Ross and Lionsgate go to Deadline