Hunger Games director Gary Ross will not helm the adaptation of Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the newspaper's sources, Ross was in negotiations to direct the sequel, but was not able to come to an agreement over scheduling and compensation.
"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Ross said in a statement. "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." The director denied reports that his talks with the studio, Lionsgate, hit a snag. "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."
The second film in the Hunger Games trilogy is scheduled to hit theaters in November of 2013, allowing the studio and creators a limited window to prepare before production would need to begin.
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