In a surprising turn, The Hunger Games director Gary Ross has bowed out of directing the second part of the trilogy, Catching Fire, which is scheduled for release in November 2013. In a statement from Ross released by Lionsgate, the director said he didn’t feel the schedule allowed him the time to make the movie as he envisioned it. There had been speculation in recent days that Ross and Lionsgate were having trouble coming to an agreement.
“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,” Ross said.
Lionsgate said they are “very sorry that Gary Ross has chosen not to direct Catching Fire.”
Read the complete statements from Ross and the studio below.