Steven Soderbergh Directing 2nd Unit For Gary Ross On 'The Hunger Games'

The question of retirement lingers around Steven Soderbergh, who says he will retire after making a few more films, even if he might not do so in quite the short order once detailed by Matt Damon. This fall he'll shoot Magic Mike, the film informed by Channing Tatum's early days as a male stripper, and will eventually make a Liberace biopic as well as a couple other possible films.

Prior to that, the prolific director has two films scheduled for the next six months, Contagion and Haywire. And, as it turns out, he'll also have his name on a big franchise film. Thanks to Twitter, we now know that Soderbergh is directing second unit on the Gary Ross adaptation of The Hunger Games.

The Playlist points to crew tweets announcing Soderbergh's involvement, and verified that they are correct. (The tweets include, "Holy shit! Just found out that Steven Soderbergh is coming to the #hungergames to direct 2nd Unit. I am so excited this is getting good!" from electrician Chrys Blackstone.)

This might seem strange at first, but Steven Soderbergh and Gary Ross have a friendship that goes back some years, and The Hunger Games production designer Phil Messina is also a frequent Soderbergh collaborator. Combine those factors with the fact that the film is shooting very quickly — the release date is only about seven months out — and for Gary Ross having someone in charge of the second unit who is both a long-time confidante and a notoriously fast worker probably seems like a tremendous gift.

(There are likely many other examples of directors getting second unit help from other famous director friends, but the one that quickly comes to mind for me is Sam Raimi directing the second unit on the Coen Bros. picture The Hudsucker Proxy.)