First we weren't sure if Gary Ross would return to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, then we thought he was definitely out. A few days later word surfaced that there was still hope. But now we know for sure that Ross is definitely, definitely out of the running.
"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," Ross said in a statement released last night.
In its response, Lionsgate wrote,"We’re very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire. We were really looking forward to making the movie with him. He did an incredible job on the first film and we are grateful for his work. This will not be the end of our relationship, as we consider Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future."
The question now becomes who will succeed Ross on Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which Lionsgate wants to begin filming in August or September. The movie opens opens Nov. 22, 2013.