Gary Ross' future with "The Hunger Games" sequel, "Catching Fire," seemed a foregone conclusion — so much so that the helmer felt comfortable discussing his preliminary vision for the follow-up with MTV News recently.
So it was a rude awakening for fans when The Hollywood Reporter reported on Wednesday that Ross was embroiled in "tough negotiations" with Lionsgate regarding his contract, and that the studio might opt to go the way of "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" and have a different director oversee follow-ups.
It's evident from interviews that Ross has a strong passion and deep insight into Suzanne Collins' source material, so it would be a shame to see him go — a sentiment many fans share, according to a poll on MTV's Hollywood Crush. But, if the franchise does lose Ross, which directors would be well-suited for "Catching Fire"? We have a few ideas:
The "Contagion" director is already acquainted with the world of Panem, having served as a second-unit director, creating the vision for the emotionally wrought District 11 rebellion. Soderbergh is adept at action sequences (see: "Haywire") and boasts a flair for the stylized (see: "Ocean's Eleven") — important qualities for both the arena and the Capitol.
Granik has ample experience guiding Jennifer Lawrence in a gritty tale of survival: She helmed the harrowing "Winter's Bone," which garnered Lawrence her first Oscar nomination. Why not extend this fruitful relationship? And though the film doesn't require a woman director to convey Katniss' viewpoint, it might be nice.
Yates took over the "Harry Potter" franchise with "Order of the Phoenix," going on to deliver a satisfying finale with "Deathly Hallows, Part 2." He's clearly comfortable picking up where previous directors left off, and has a mastery of epic, franchise filmmaking.
To be fair, Bigelow's work directing the war-torn drama "The Hurt Locker" makes her more qualified for the conflict-heavy "Mockingjay," but why not get an early start setting up the events of the final installment? Plus, the woman's got an Oscar, for Effie's sake!
If we're gonna dream, why not dream big? Nolan's earned a reputation for awe-inspiring aesthetics (see: "Inception," anything he's done involving a crime-fighting bat), so we can't even begin to imagine what the Capitol and the jungle-themed arena would look like in his visionary hands.
Would you be disappointed to see Gary Ross go? Who do you think would be capable of taking over the franchise? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me @amymwilk with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!
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