As words ran rampant that director Gary Ross has officially signed out of "The Hunger Games" film franchise, Deadline broke the news that the rumors were overblown. According to the showbiz site, the "Seabiscuit" helmer has yet to withdraw from directing "Catching Fire".
Multiple sources close to the production of the sequel film claimed that Ross hasn't formally exited the big film franchise. The 55-year-old moviemaker is still having a family vacation and he couldn't be reached at the moment. The insiders stated that the reports of Ross' withdrawal from the "Hunger Games" sequel are "simply not accurate."
Deadline also noted that the rumors suggesting that Ross tossed away the chance to helm "Catching Fire" due to salary dispute are flawed. The director had lobbied hard to adapt "Hunger Games" trilogy to the big screen and made it the biggest hit of his directing career, and Deadline learned that the filmmaker wouldn't simply leave the franchise given how active he has been in the construction of "Catching Fire".
Since November 2011, Ross and author Suzanne Collins have been working hard to prepare "Catching Fire". The two have tapped Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy to pen the script for the sequel. Another reason why Ross could stay in the franchise is his tight bond with everyone involved in the film, especially the cast members.
Previously, The Playlist reported that Ross has officially bowed out of the franchise and consequently will not direct "Catching Fire". It was said that Ross has expressed his love of the first book by Suzanne Collins but he also has another script written that he likes better. The unknown project reportedly pays better than what he would have earned in the "Hunger Games" sequel.
In "Catching Fire", Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are getting punished for their defiance. They will be forced to compete in a special 75th staging of the Hunger Games, where they must compete against past winners. Bringing back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth to the cast ensemble, the film is due to open wide in the U.S. on November 22, 2013.