The Hunger Games has been a huge success, topping the box office for three straight weeks — so then why is Gary Ross jumping ship? The movie's director announced in a statement last night that he will not be returning for the film's sequel, Catching Fire. Find out the reason behind Gary's departure, and see what one of the film's stars has to say about the news in PopSugar Rush.
The Hunger Games may be the megahit of the season, but the sequel, Catching Fire, won't be working with the exact same recipe for success. Gary Ross has decided not to direct the follow-up to The Hunger Games, saying, "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." It was rumored that Ross might be out last week, but now that it's official, I'm wondering who will take on the helming duty. Who would you want to see in the director's chair for Catching Fire?
Director Gary Ross is already getting overwhelmingly positive reviews for his big-screen interpretation of The Hunger Games, and when we spoke with him at a recent press day in Beverly Hills, he told us his vision of his film fell into place when he saw Jennifer Lawrence audition and was "transformed." He reflected on the scene she so impressed him with and also shared some stories about working with his kids — both of whom were big fans of the book — on set. We also asked Gary to talk about making the tough decisions about storylines from the text that wouldn't make it to the big screen. Check out our interview and see The Hunger Games in theaters on March 23!
Jennifer Lawrence and her costars from The Hunger Games, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, are on the cover of this week's The Hollywood Reporter. Along with their blockbuster's director, Gary Ross, the actors shared some of the secrets behind their much-anticipated movie. They dished on Hunger Games production details like what the stars got paid, how long they're contracted for, and which actresses were also in the running to play Katniss Everdeen. Gary dished out praise for Jennifer, who revealed that she had a tough time deciding to take the role. Liam also shared some advice given to him by his action star brother, Chris Hemsworth. Highlights from The Hunger Games interview include:
- Jennifer on deciding to take the potentially life-changing role: "It was the middle of the night in England, and I was in bed when I got the call. And I was so in love with the books and the script, and suddenly it was right in my face — and the size of the decision was terrifying. . . I called my mom and she called me a hypocrite, because when I was doing indie movies and everyone was asking why I didn’t do studio movies, I said, 'The size of the movie doesn’t matter.' And she said, 'Here’s a movie you love and you were thinking of turning it down because of its size.' I thought, 'I don’t want to miss out because I’m scared. Me being scared, I never want that to stop me from doing something.' But I knew in my heart that I wanted it — it was about working out all the fears."
- Liam on getting diet advice from his brother Chris: "My brother Chris texted me before shooting and told me to lose weight. He said, 'It's called The Hunger Games, not The Eating Games!'"
- Gary on Jennifer's acting: "There's such a power and a truth to her acting. She has absolute, total control over what she's doing. I've never worked with anyone more talented than her — ever. A talent like this comes once in a generation."
- Ryan Seacrest is close to a deal that would bring him back as American Idol host with a significant raise. — The Hollywood Reporter
- Zooey Deschanel is joining James Franco and Natalie Portman in the comedy Your Highness. She will play Belladonna, Franco's virginal bride. — ComingSoon
- Brooke Shields, Dick Van Dyke, Ken Jeong, and Samantha Bee have come aboard the live-action family comedy Furry Vengeance. — The Hollywood Reporter
- Here are some new characters coming to Ugly Betty in the Fall. — TV Guide
- And here are a couple of new roles on Big Love. — Entertainment Weekly
- BBC Films has acquired the bestselling Chris Cleave novel Little Bee, and Nicole Kidman has attached herself as star and producer. — Variety
- Gary Ross, who directed Tobey Maguire in Seabiscuit and Pleasantville, will rewrite the script for Spider-Man 4. — ComingSoon
- I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence may be reuniting with Will Smith for a fantastical drama titled The City That Sailed. — The Hollywood Reporter
Photo courtesy of Fox
- The next James Bond movie has gotten Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan to co-write the script, and Daniel Craig is confirmed to reprise his role as Bond. Variety
- SPIN magazine is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Prince's Purple Rain with a free downloadable tribute that features nine bands doing covers of the record's classic tracks. — Billboard
- Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, has written a scary genre thriller titled Beautiful Girl. — Variety
- It looks like the Lance Armstrong biopic finally has a writer: Seabiscuit writer/director Gary Ross. — ComingSoon
- TV stations across the US started cutting their analog signals this morning, and the FCC has put 4,000 operators on standby for calls from confused viewers. — The Hollywood Reporter
- Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has signed a three-year producing pact with Fox Searchlight. — Variety
- J.J. Abrams says he will be producing the fourth Mission: Impossible film and that he and Tom Cruise "have come up with a really cool idea." — ComingSoon
- The View co-host Joy Behar will host The Joy Behar Show, a one-hour primetime talk show, on HLN (formerly Headline News). — The Hollywood Reporter
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
Spider-Man 3 is in the news this week as The Dark Knight surpasses its record-breaking opening weekend but that doesn't mean the star of the superhero franchise is slowing down. Tobey Maguire is set to star in a drama titled The Crusaders about the historic Brown v. Board of Education case. According to Variety:
Maguire would play Jack Greenberg, who, as an idealistic lawyer fresh out of law school, joined with NAACP Legal Defense Fund head and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to win a Supreme Court case that ruled segregation in American schools illegal.
Besides Maguire, there's some interesting behind-the-scenes talent involved as well. Gary Ross, who's worked with Maguire before on Pleasantville and Seabiscuit will direct and the writer of the recent HBO film Recount, Jay Roach, is working on the movie's script. It's been a while since I've seen a powerful, well-done drama about the civil rights movement and I'll be curious to watch this project unfold.
Are you glad to see Maguire getting back to his dramatic pre-Spidey roots?
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this week's "On the Lot" was sponsored even more generously than usual by Ford. The five remaining directors all made films about the wonders of the open road — and, it would seem, the wonder of driving Ford vehicles on it. At one point, Adrianna Costa even stood like a showroom model next to one giant SUV, just in case we weren't getting the message.
Before we could get to the "road films," we had to see who was going to be eliminated after last week's comedies. Adrianna told the gang that Zach and Andrew had the fewest votes, but Zach just barely nosed ahead out to stay in the competition. Jason, meanwhile, won the box office tally again; as a reward, he got to work with Jerry O'Connell this week. Hmmm ... blessing or curse?
This week's guest judge was Gary Ross of Seabiscuit. The other Garry was mysteriously absent, but his sister Penny filled in instead, showing that babbling runs in the family. As for the five new films:
- Adam started off the night with Driving Under the Influence, about a car stereo that makes people dance against their will. I think Adam's really at his best when he does things with dancing, for whatever reason, though I thought the ending was ridiculous. Carrie agreed that Adam rocks at the dancing, Gary thought it worked, and Penny was about as coherent as Garry typically is.
- Sam came next with Backseat Driving Test, about a young man whose mother is an insufferable backseat driver. She gets sent to backseat driving rehab, which seems to consist mostly of being driven around a course at high speed with dust flying everywhere. It was a lot of driving effects and not a lot else, in my opinion. Carrie said it was Sam's best movie, while Gary was impressed with the effects and Penny smiled a lot.
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