You may have already heard the rumours, or may of even speculated this yourself, but this week sees the confirmation that director of The Hunger Games, Gary Ross, will not direct the film’s sequel.

Due to be released in November 2013, Catching Fire is the second in a trilogy of novels written by Suzanne Collins and is set to be adapted to follow Gary Ross’ hugely successful adaptation of the first novel, The Hunger Games.

Still standing strong at the top of the box office in its third week, The Hunger Games has now made over $460m worldwide since its release on 23rd March.

Despite the film’s success however, Ross, who also co-wrote the script, has now confirmed that he will not direct the film’s sequel, commenting that he has not been given enough time to do the film justice and that he was not able to come to an agreement over scheduling and compensation.

Here’s part of Ross’ statement:

Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire. As a writer and a director, 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.

Whilst there has been a lot of talk about the director falling out with film’s production company, Ross has denies these rumour and comments that The Hunger Games was “the happiest experience of my professional life”, telling Lionsgate Studio that he appreciated their support “in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise.”

The existing cast, including Jennifer Lawrence as the film’s heroine Katniss, have all been confirmed to reprise their roles, and Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of Slumdog Millionaire and the director of this month’s comedy Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, has already written the screenplay.

Lionsgate have also announced that they plan to split Mockingjay, the final book in the trilogy, into two films, just like the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises have also done.

With the production for Catching Fire starting in August, the search for a new director has new begun and this article in the LA Times claims that from a shortlist of eight potential candidates three are closest to Lionsgate’s heart: Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg and Alejandro González Iñárritu. This is speculation of course and Cuaron in particular will surely be too busy locking down Gravity to start work in August.

So who do you want to direct Catching Fire? And do you think they will be able to do just as good of a job on the second adaptation as Ross has done with its predecessor?

(Source: IndieWire)