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'Hunger Games' director Gary Ross will not film sequel 'Catching Fire'

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The Hunger Games director Gary Ross has confirmed that he will not be directing the sequel Catching Fire.

Ross explained his decision in a statement released on Tuesday evening (April 10).

Gary Ross directs 'The Hunger Games'

> Gary Ross: 'Hunger Games viewers should feel part of the movie'

"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Ross said. "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.

"I loved making The Hunger Games - it was the happiest experience of my professional life," Ross continued. "Lionsgate was supportive of me in a manner that few directors ever experience in a franchise: they empowered me to make the film I wanted to make and backed the movie in a way that requires no explanation beyond the remarkable results.

"Contrary to what has been reported, negotiations with Lionsgate have not been problematic. They have also been very understanding of me through this difficult decision."

Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in 'The Hunger Games'

> Jennifer Lawrence: 'The Hunger Games is important for our generation'

Ross paid tribute to Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, producer Nina Jacobson and actress Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss Everdeen.

He also thanked fans of the series for their "faith, enthusiasm and... trust", adding: "Hard as this may be to understand, I am trying to keep that trust with you."

Lionsgate also released a statement on Tuesday saying: "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 [Gary] Ross to be part of the Lionsgate family and look forward to working with him in the future."

Watch The Hunger Games trailer below:

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