The news is not officially official just yet, but fans across the various districts are already up in arms about it. The hashtag #WeWantGaryRoss made its way into today's trending topics on Twitter as a result of the story.
If it is true, and Ross will not return for the second film, we're left with a very burning question: Who could take his place?
Ross' will be big shoes to fill by whomever steps in, of course, so we thought we'd go ahead and size up some of the potential candidates for the job.
We've already gotten a taste of what director Steven Soderbergh can bring to the "Hunger Games" fold, as he did second unit work on the first installment and brought forth that nail-biting revolution in District 11 sequence. So, we have little doubt that Soderbergh could ably carry on the tone, message and feel of the franchise. Our friends at Hollywood Crush dig him as the next in line as well. Only problem is, he's got his hands full with "The Side Effects."
When it comes to the emotional and social turmoil existent in "Catching Fire," there's almost no one who could triumph like "127 Hours" and "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle. He's a craftsman of human circumstance, one might say. Plus, hey, he's already got ample experience working (successfully) alongside Simon Beaufoy, who's written the script. Boyle could definitely continue the tradition of having credible and thoughtful filmmakers involved with "The Hunger Games."
If he could squeeze it into his very busy "The Hobbit" schedule, director Peter Jackson would be an excellent choice for "Catching Fire." Not only is he a proven book-to-film aficionado by way of "The Lord of the Rings" series, but he's also an actor's director and he can seriously grapple with the necessary CGI for the film. However, money was among the issues with Ross, and we can't imagine Jackson wouldn't cost Lionsgate double whatever Ross wanted.
Once considered one of the top three candidates for the job of directing "The Hunger Games," David Slade could be one of the key filmmakers considered for the job of directing "Catching Fire." He's got experience to speak of in stepping into franchise-land, having directed movie three of the "Twilight" series, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Plus, when we talked to Slade many moons ago about the possibility of directing "Catching Fire" (long before the news of Ross' departure), he wasn't exactly opposed to the idea. Seeing how "Eclipse" was the most triangle-y installment to the "Twilight Saga," the whole Team Peeta/Team Gale concept would be completely familiar territory for Slade. But is it too familiar?
New British director Rupert Sanders has become the talk of Tinseltown thanks to what is poised to be a massively awesome debut with "Snow White and the Huntsman."It's his first film, but already we can tell Sanders has something special to offer the world of film, particularly where extreme visuals are concerned. And "Catching Fire" will need someone with resonant vision to tackle the extensive tick-tock arena. From what we've seen of "Snow White and the Huntsman" so far, he could certainly fit that mold.
Perhaps "Winter's Bone" director Debra Granik should be considered in the mix as well. Not only would she bring some lady power to the franchise, but she also helped Jennifer Lawrence nab her first Oscar nomination. She's worked with tough times material before and knows how to present subtle strength in a reluctant heroine. In other words, Granik could put some unique heart into the story of "Catching Fire" and flesh out some of the most delicious personality details of Katniss and the gang.
"The Dark Knight Rises" director Christopher Nolan really knows how to infuse the bigger picture into visually stunning movies. Not to mention, he's got je ne sais quoi with franchise material and he's an accomplished writer as well. He could easily transform the "Catching Fire" script into something large. What's questionable, however, is whether he could echo the sentiment of girl power "The Hunger Games" has.
When it comes to gritty action movies, no one can deny the power of director Ridley Scott. And he's already proven his muster in combat-arena-style films with "Gladiator." Scott's one of the busiest filmmakers in Hollywood, though, so the chances of nailing him for "Catching Fire" are probably pretty slim.
It'd be a crime against the Capitol to overlook the possibility that "Harry Potter" (sequels five through eight) director David Yates could be considered for the job of directing "Catching Fire." Yates, like many of these directors, knows a thing or two about stepping into an established franchise and carrying the weight of expectation on through. A major obstacle to his involvement, though, would be the fact that he's got "Your Voice in My Head" on deck for summer production.
Director Brad Bird really impressed with his killer action sequences in "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol" and proved he can and will make a successful transition from the world of animation. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, "Catching Fire" would be a good fit for his next move.
So, tributes, which director would you like to see step up to light up "Catching Fire?" Target your thoughts to the comments below!
Amanda Bell is a young adult book-to-film enthusiast and has made a name for herself as a fan-friendly, informative and dependable source. In addition to being the District 14 columnist for NextMovie, she runs the popular Twilight Examiner column. Keep tabs on her on Twitter.