For a while there, it seemed all but certain that The Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross would return for the sequel, Catching Fire. But that, of course, didn’t pan out, and with Francis Lawrence now firmly positioned in the director’s chair for that film, Ross is weighing a few different options for his next move.

Among other things, he’s just entered talks for Summit’s Houdini, an adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s biography The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero. Ironically enough, this project could pit him against his Hunger Games successor Lawrence, who’s attached to Columbia’s unrelated Houdini project. More after the jump.

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For the last couple weeks the biggest question mark in Hollywood has been related to who Lionsgate plans to hire to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. Originally Gary Ross was thought to be set for the film, but it turned out that he had other ideas. After some extended last-minute dealmaking attempts, some of which included minor manipulations of the news that he was walking away from the film, Ross was revealed to be out of the picture for good.

So who steps in? A shortlist came out that includes some surprising names: David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Now we can add two more names to the ‘possible’ column: Moneyball director Bennett Miller, and I Am Legend and Constantine director Francis Lawrence. Read More »

Before The Hunger Games was released, I spoke with Gary Ross on numerous occasions and each time he seemed extremely confident he’d be back to direct the sequel, Catching Fire. He’d hand selected the screenwriter, had thoughts about casting and Lionsgate even set a release date. Then his film blew up into an gargantuan success and rumors began swirling Ross wasn’t going to come back. The Playlist then confirmed this. Days later, Deadline wrote otherwise and we all just thought it was public posturing for a bigger check. According to Gary Ross, that was not the case.

Ross has released a statement that explains why he will not be back to direct Catching Fire, finally closing the book on the argument and you can read it after the jump. Read More »


This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam take on the MPAA and wonder about the fate of Gary Ross’s work in the Hunger Games film series. Also, can enthusiasm only take you so far? Or is it the key to unlocking your dreams? Special guest Joseph Kahn joins us to discuss. Kahn’s newest film, Detention, opens in limited release this Friday.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be reviewing Cabin in the Woods next week. /Filmcast live broadcasts won’t be regular the next few months, but follow Dave on Twitter to see when we’ll be broadcasting next!

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You’ll have to put your fantasies of an Alfonso Cuaron- or Kathryn Bigelow-directed The Hunger Games sequel back on the shelf for now. Despite last week’s report that Gary Ross had exited the franchise and would not be directing the second installment, Catching Fire, sources close to the situation are saying that Ross has yet to formally withdraw. In fact, Ross is set to meet with Lionsgate today to discuss his possible role in the film series going forward. More details after the jump.

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This is why we can never make any assumptions about how a deal is going to go down before the ink is set and dried. Even before the massive success of The Hunger Games, most assumed that Gary Ross would return to direct the sequel, Catching Fire. Simon Beaufoy was hired to script the sequel, and said to be working under the supervision of Ross.

In the weeks since the release of The Hunger Games, we’ve heard about negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate, and while there seemed to be some contention over money, the general takeaway was that Ross and the studio would come to terms and he would once again be in the director’s chair for the sequel.

Turns out that might not be the case. Rather, Ross may have been playing his own smart game, letting many think he would be ready to move on to the sequel, but instead using his new cachet from the film’s success to ensure he could do a film he has been developing for a while. In other words, if the report we’ve got today is correct, Catching Fire will have a new director. Read More »

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That Gary RossThe Hunger Games would get a sequel was practically a forgone conclusion before the film ever opened. Now that it’s officially become a hit, drawing in $368 million to date, it’s an absolutely sure bet that we’ll see Katniss, Gale and Peeta again on the big screen before long. Less certain, however, is whether writer-director Ross will return for the second installment, Catching Fire. While stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are locked in for the sequel, Ross is not, and he’s reportedly battling with the studio for a hefty pay raise. More details after the jump.

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There’s a great semi-futuristic story of brutal combat, in which a battered nation is captivated as two-person teams battle one another to the death in an ironic but potent allegory of public entertainment and government control gone wrong. A reserved but driven hero manipulates public perception to gain an edge in the games, and could ultimately become something more significant than a survivor.

I’m not thinking of The Hunger Games; I’m thinking of Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000, released in 1975 and made under producer Roger Corman. Death Race 2000 does a lot of things right, as Corman’s shoestring affairs go. It has the silly, exploitative and satirical angles covered with material to spare. What it doesn’t have, however, is a truly compelling main character. The Hunger Games has that one thing Bartel didn’t: a killer lead performance, in this case from Jennifer Lawrence as the young family provider turned warrior Katniss Everdeen. That’s just about all it’s got.

As satire and allegory, The Hunger Games is a whiff and a miss. But as a portrait of Katniss, it has the benefit of featuring Lawrence in nearly every scene, and the young actress doesn’t squander the movie’s opportunity. I suspect that in twenty years Winter’s Bone will be the movie in which we turn back to see Lawrence play an impressive provider, but The Hunger Games makes a good introduction to the fierce Lawrence, if nothing else. Read More »

After almost a decade away from the director’s chair, Gary Ross is back with a bang. He’s directed the highly-anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and he’s done it with the kind of vision and passion only a true fan could have accomplished. The film, which opens March 23 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and many others, is both a faithful adaptation of the book as well as a perfect movie version of the story. Everything fans want is in there and things they aren’t expecting are sprinkled in to help expand the world in a way only a movie can.

A few weeks back, I spoke with Ross on the occasion of The Hunger Games and we discussed his unique directorial choices with the film, his favorite, and least favorite, additions and subtractions from the original novel, some of his plans looking forward to casting (Finnick Odair!) and shooting the second film, Catching Fire, and much more. Read it all after the jump. Read More »