Gary Ross Is Officially Off Catching Fire

I’ve written about this already, but now it’s official: Both Gary Ross and Lionsgate have confirmed that the Hunger Games director will not be returning to helm the first sequel, Catching Fire. You can jump here to see how I feel about his work on The Hunger Games.

Ross’ full statement was released by the studio:

“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.

I loved making The Hunger Games – it was the happiest experience of my professional life. 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. And 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.

I also cannot say enough about the people I worked with: Producer Nina Jacobson, a great collaborator and a true friend; the brilliant Suzanne Collins, who entrusted us with her most amazing and important story; the gifted and remarkable Jennifer Lawrence whose performance exceeded my wildest expectations, and the rest of the incredible cast, whom I am proud to call my friends.

To the fans I want to say thank you for your support your faith, your enthusiasm and your trust. Hard as this may be to understand I am trying to keep that trust with you. Thank you all. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Hmmm, Ross makes it sound like the real reason he left is because he didn’t want production to be rushed to meet the studio’s previously announced release date, Nov. 22, 2013.

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DOCTOR WHO Visits NYC’s Central Park

Here are a couple of photos from today’s DOCTOR WHO shooting in New York’s iconic Central Park, depicting the Doctor and  Amy not exactly enjoying a picnic. Matt Smith (the Doctor) and Karen Gillan (Amy) are joined by Arthur Darvill (Rory), but there are no Weeping Angels in sight.

Since this scene is for the fifth episode, are the Ponds moving to New York after their time in the TARDIS? Talk about a town that is the opposite of Leadworth

The most interesting thing to me about this photo is the newspaper Amy is reading. The fictional New York Record‘s headline declares: “Detroit Lions Win Superbowl!” This clearly suggests that this scene takes place at some future date, because the hapless Lions have never even appeared in the Super Bowl, let alone won it… so far. (And let’s hope that a Record copy editor can rewrite time in order to spell Super Bowl correctly before the episode is broadcast.) BTW, nice brainy specs, Amy!

If you need more proof that this is a picnic — and that Amy seems miffed at the contrite Doctor — here’s the picnic basket.

And do not fear, Rory fans — Mr. Pond is just out of frame in this image. But he is there [POSSIBLE SPOILER!], alive and well.

I wonder where those sneaky Angels are, though…

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 3.3: “Time Is of the Essence”

For longer than GAME OF THRONES has been promising that “Winter is coming,” MAKE IT OR BREAK IT has been milking the crucial reveal to Payson that Lauren sent the NGO pictures of Payson kissing Sasha —  nearly ruining both their lives. The time of reckoning finally came this week, and it hit with the force of a blizzard.

Alfred Hitchcock famously said the key to suspense is giving the viewing audience more information than the characters have — and, in the best Hitchcockian tradition, we fans have known forever (well, since the season two episode “If Only…”) that Lauren was behind the stunt, so we’ve been in suspense waiting for the catharsis of the other shoe dropping ever since.
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