Seeing how Gary Ross' adaptation of The Hunger Games is currently being projected for an opening weekend take of over $100 million, it's safe to say: not only is the sequel Catching Fire (based on Suzanne Collins' original novel of the same name) essentially a sure thing at this point, but Ross is pretty much guaranteed to return to the director's chair - working from a script penned by Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire).
In a recent interview with MTV, Ross has said that he's only just begun to develop his plans for filming Catching Fire. However, there is one matter the director has already made his mind up about: neither the sequel nor any future Hunger Games movies will be shot in or "conceived for" 3D (so long as he is in charge).
Pre-release buzz on The Hunger Games has been exceptionally good, with many of those who've seen the movie praising its reliance on hand-held camerawork and documentary-like cinematography - which is an unusual approach, considering that most projects budgeted around $100 million (like Hunger Games) aim for much more refined and seamless photography. Ross also admitted to MTV that his method of choice for filming the sci-fi drama/thriller "had a lot to do with [the] urgency of what's going on and [to reflect protagonist Katniss Everdeen's] point of view."
Ross further clarified his meaning when asked whether or not Catching Fire would be shot in 3D, saying:
“No, absolutely not, no [I wouldn’t consider 3D for 'Catching Fire']. I don’t think it’s appropriate for this film. I think that if we shoot this movie in 3D, we become the Capitol; we start making spectacle out of something that I don’t think is really appropriate here. There needs to be an aesthetic distance because of the nature of the material, the premise, what they’re doing. I think that cinematic techniques designed to intensify the experience if you feel them that way, aren’t really appropriate. I mean I love 3D, I really do and I think it’s a wonderful tool, I just don’t think it’s the right tool for this.”
Collins' original Hunger Games novel has often been praised for offering a non-exploitative take on the idea of televised violence as entertainment - an area where many previously-released films that dealt with similar subject matter (The Running Man, The Condemned) have fallen flat. Hence, Ross' reasoning for why he's against utilizing 3D in the Hunger Games movie series seems sound.
[caption id="attachment_159236" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Gary Ross directs Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence on the 'Hunger Games' set"][/caption]
As for Ross being involved with Catching Fire: seeing how he appears to have hit a home run with Hunger Games, that news is all the more welcome. Even though Beaufoy is already at work on the sequel's script, there's also a good chance that Ross will be more directly involved with the writing process in the future - similar to what happened with The Hunger Games, where an earlier script penned by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, State of Play) ended up being so heavily reworked by Ross and Collins that the latter duo are receiving the bulk of the credit for the film's screenplay.
The Hunger Games opens in theaters around the U.S. next week on March 23rd, 2012.
Catching Fire is currently slated to hit U.S. theaters next year on November 22nd, 2013.