THE NEWS BUNDLE: Josh Hutcherson Says He's Sure Gary Ross Will Direct 'Catching Fire'

The biggest ongoing saga right now happens to be who the hell will direct Catching Fire, the highly anticipated sequel to this month's past smash The Hunger Games. Gary Ross was said to be off the project, only until we learned that he was still in negotiations this past weekend. Now, it could really go either way. Today however, one of the series' cast members Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mallark, has finally broken silence and said that he strongly believes the director will be back.

Hutcherson told ComingSoon, "There is not much doubt in my mind he'll be doing it. I think so. I don't think there's a chance he won't. He killed the first one, absolutely knocked it out of the park. Everyone loved him. Myself, Jennifer and the others loved him. I couldn't imagine making another movie without him, so that's what I have to say about that..."

Meetings between Ross and Lionsgate are still underway, with the latest reports saying Ross met with the studio yesterday to begin extensive negotations. He's reportedly unhappy with the short pre-production time he has (roughly four to five months), and not to mention the fact he has to finish in order for Jennifer Lawrence to move on to X-Men: First Class 2 in January 2013. Furthermore, the director also wants a bigger paycheck compared to his $3 million + 5% backend deal he received for The Hunger Games.

Simon Beaufoy's script is not yet complete, and would have to undergo revisions from whoever will direct the film. With a short pre-production, it seems that while Ross has been heavily involved in molding the sequel so far, he would still need an appropriate amount of time to get things ready. Previous speculation says that Lionsgate could buy their way out of the production hump, causing Fox to delay their own set production by just a few months. Whether or not that will happen will remain to be seen.

Currently, Catching Fire is set for release on November 22nd, but that could change given the cramped schedule.

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