The Conversation: Should Gary Ross Return to Direct 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'?

The Conversation: Should Gary Ross Return to Direct 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'?

Apr 04, 2012

My introductory commentary for today's Conversation shall be very short: whether it's a James Bond film, an Alien movie, a Star Wars sequel or prequel, a Twilight or Harry Potter adaptation or any other series continuation (including documentary sequels), I will always side with the idea of letting another director have a shot at helming an installment. Never mind that my favorite all time film series, The Thin Man, only really went sour once W.S. Van Dyke was replaced (because he died), I still will always be curious if not always satisfied with fresh hands and visions on a property. 

That said, if negotiations between Lionsgate and The Hunger Games director Gary Ross do not work out, as is reportedly a possibility, I will be fine with new blood taking over. And I loved nearly everything he added aesthetically to the adaptation. Maybe as a lark they can let The Running Man's Paul Michael Glaser direct Catching Fire. I think after 16 years we can finally forgive him for his last movie, Kazaam. Or I don't know, how about a woman filmmaker be given the work considering this is such a female-driven story?

I just hope the threats of riots and suicides from the franchise fanbase aren't serious...


What are people saying about Gary Ross possibly leaving the Hunger Games series? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:

Oh no, what will they ever do without a guy to aim the camera at leaves while the pretty future people make insidery book references! A talent like [him] should be cherished and coddled, not put out to pasture! Well, you know what happens now. They aim the spotlight over Hollywood, projecting a silhouetted shrimp cocktail against the night sky. Because whenever a good director is too expensive, Brett Ratner is there, playing with his blackberry and scratching his balls. - Vince Mancini, Film Drunk 

if Ross really does leave the series, it wouldn’t be the first time a literary franchise has dropped its original director. Harry Potter went through four directors over the course of eight films, while The Twilight Saga has had four different helmers for its five installments. When the source material already has a big enough fanbase, as in the case of those franchises or comic book movies, fans are likely to return no matter who ends up in the director’s chair. For Ross’ part, The Hunger Games‘ performance should lead to a number of options for his next project, so it’s not entirely inconceivable that he could stumble across a different project that appeals to him more. - Angie Han, /Film

A script has already been written for Catching Fire, from Simon Beaufoy, but Ross has not yet had the chance to revise it. The one big card that Ross has in his back pocket is that The Hunger Games was better received than any of the Twilight films, which could convince the brass to try and keep some consistency. Whether it will play in his favor is still an unknown at this point. - Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

To be sure, Gary is a passionate advocate for this project, and much of what elevated the film beyond a by-the-book adaption, was Gary's artful treatment of the material. - Amy Wilkinson, MTV's Hollywood Crush

I think Lionsgate should just suck up his demands and pay him.  Afterall, when was the last time Lionsgate had any film(s) of this magnitude? - I Heard You Liked This

Gary Ross did an admirable job of translating this first film for the screen and given The Hunger Games success it would be easy for the studio to expend the minimum level of effort on the sequel, banking on their built-in fan base to turn out. - Roth Cornet, Screen Rant

While The Hunger Games was competently put together, that has more to do with the source material than any great auteurship on end. There are plenty of directors who could extricate the best elements out of a property that millions of people love, one who could presumably be found in the Hollywood soup line. - Jeremy Gordon, Black Book

Why not find someone new? Do they think he nailed Hunger Games? - Matt Patches, @misterpatches

Only if the new director is as big of a fan and as dedicated as Gary. - Matra Sou, @MatraSou

Personally, we love Gary’s enthusiasm for the series and his work on The Hunger Games, so we’d be upset if he was replaced for the sequel. - The Hob

I want Gary back for sure! He fully understands the material and its message. But I do hope he makes some technical changes. - Brittany, @KGirl0724

I want Gary Ross but a lot less shaky cam. - @TwilightMOMS

Gary Ross did a fine job. Just keep the camera shaking to a minimum. I want to see the action, not a blur. - Jonathan Krygsman, @jk_baller23

Gary Ross all the Freaking Way! - Mahrukh Fatima, @ganstamars

They should hold onto him if they can, clearly the right director for the job! SEABISCUIT was a great movie as well. - Nate B., @Nate2709

Gary Ross really just gets it. I feel like if any other director did it it wouldn't be as amazing! - Jared Crawford, @JaredKnockout


Omg I swear if Gary Ross doesn't direct Catching Fire, Lionsgate will have a riot because Gary MUST DIRECT CATCHING FIRE & MOCKINGJAY - Bonnie Ayn, @xxbonnie

We're BEGGING you, Lionsgate!! The fans want Gary Ross for the long haul!! Let this be more like Lord of the Rings where Peter Jackson helmed the duration of the films as opposed to the Twilight franchise! - Welcome to District 12

I hope they choose another one. - Leo Olmos, @LeoOlmos

The Hunger Games could roll the dice on a new director and could, conceivably, end up better for it (that is, if you ask those who were put-off by Ross’ close-quarter, shaky-cam shooting style). On the other hand, the studio could end up with a generic director who might not be so bold in his stylistic choices, but doesn’t really impress all that much, either. - Kofi Outlaw, Screen Rant

Ross had no shortage of competition when he landed the gig for the first film: he beat out Sam Mendes, David Slade ("Twilight: Eclipse"), Francis Lawrence ("I Am Legend"), Andrew Adamson ("The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe"), Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman") and Susanna White ("Generation Kill") for the job, and it's possible that some might be interested if the position became available, and the studio have plenty of directors who are even cheaper to pick from. All that being said, Ross certainly deserves recognition for helping the film become such a giant hit, and we're sure that things will get ironed out in good time. - Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist

The alternative is to throw 24 directors into an arena and have them fight to the death.  And if you’re having trouble imagining other directors taking over the franchise, take a look at these fake posters for The Hunger Games. - Matt Goldberg, Collider

Frankly, considering the kind of work Alfonso Cuaron turned in for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which would set the darker tone for the rest of the series, I'd like to see him take a crack at the sequel if necessary. - Ethan Anderton, First Showing

Dude can't direct action. Bigelow, Cuaron or Refn FTW! - Antonio Sugizo, @AntonioSugizo

On paper, the idea of another director getting to put his or her stamp on the world of Panem isn't so bad; it'd be kind of nice to have a new voice in the mix. But Ross did such a fantastic job that without him as director, we would be looking at a very, very different movie—perhaps a movie that I, at least, won't want to watch. - Josh Wigler, MTV Movies Blog

If Gary Ross does not direct Catching Fire and Mockingjay I will die. Die. - Clare Moloughney, @claarebrigidd



Conversation Twitter Poll: Should Lionsgate Try to Get Gary Ross Back for "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" or Give Another Director a Shot?

I say give him what he wants. Solid filmmaker, clearly really understood his audience. Then again, I said the same thing about Favreau regarding Iron Man 2. - Dominic, @Count3D

He should hold out for big 2. - Scarnsworth, @whatcameoutofme

Give someone else a shot. Say, someone who doesn't rely on ineffective shaky-cam photography. - Josh Spiegel, @mousterpiece

I haven't read the books but if there's a tonal shift in the series then a new director could be good, may be a blessing. - Bernardo Villela, @BernardoVillela

Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.

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