Gary Ross

Josh and Franco

While we’ve been toiling away wishing for more Mockingjay Part 2 news, the principle cast of our favorite franchise have all gone off and got them selves some fancy new gigs. Now this is where I’d usually wax on and on about Jen working with David O. Russell again, but not today! Today it’s all about James Franco. Yes, you read me right– JAMES FRANCO, shout-y letters and all. Our beloved Peeta is currently filming a film with James Franco, the man who collects advanced degrees, and makes memes out of himself on Instagram, has about 80 different jobs at once, is starring and directing. Awkward runs on sentences aside, this is pretty interesting news! Why? ‘Cause the film is an adaptation of one of John Steinbeck’s lesser known novels, In Dubious Battle. Steinbeck of course is the American fiction writer best known for novels like East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, and a collection of short stories including The Red Pony.

This is the second Steinbeck adaptation I have heard anything about in the last twenty years. The last was oddly enough Gary Ross’s announcement that he’d like to try his hand at a two part adaptation of East of Eden, starring Jennifer Lawrence no less. However, instead of our dear Jen stepping into a role created by Mr. Steinbeck– it’s Josh. I gotta say I like this development.

Now everyone stare at Josh in Great Depression Era clothes, and not think “District 12 is calling for its clothing back!”

Check out that pageboy cap!

Check out that pageboy cap!

Yes, that's Selena Gomez.

Yes, that’s Selena Gomez.

All right, that’s enough! Now everyone go read In Dubious Battle!

Them There Eyes

Ross and Lawrence Reunited

Let’s just get this out-of-the-way, today I am not going to write about The Hunger Games. Nope, today I’m going to talk about one of my other loves, or one of my first loves, and that just happens to be the 20th century American author by the name of John Steinbeck.

I first read John Steinbeck’s work when I was 13 years-old, it was the novella Of Mice and Men, and since then I’ve re-read it, and slowly read through about half of Steinbeck’s other works, and you gotta know this– there are a lot of works with his name on it, but what I have read includes Cannery Row, The Red Pony, The Grapes of Wrath, Travels with Charley, a memoir about his trip around the country in a truck with his beloved Standard Poodle Charley, The Long Valley, and my favorite full length novel out of his dossier, East Of Eden. Which brings me to the tie in to the title of this little article, East of Eden is going to be the project that brings our Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence, and The Hunger Games’ original director extraordinaire, Gary Ross back together once more.

East of Eden is a huge novel, in fact my tatty copy has counted 602 pages, single spaced I might add, as well as what looks to be 10 pt. font, or perhaps smaller. This is no project that should be taken on lightly, not only due to the vastness of the story’s length and breadth, but also for the cultural pedestal it’s been put on since 1952, when it was 509092originally published. Eden, as I call it, has been adapted three times, once most famously in 1955, a second time on the stage, and a third in a mini-series in 1981. I’ve seen only one of these adaptations though, and that’s the 1955 Elia Kazan production which starred the now legendary James Dean. Kazan’s adaptation was good, but imperfect, and I dubiously say imperfect because the studio, the screenwriter, and Kazan made the decision to focus on only a few chapters from the last third of this massive story of a novel.

A slew of characters were cut down, cut out, or completely morphed into something else in Kazan’s now considered masterpiece, and one of those characters just happens to be the role that Jennifer Lawrence will be taking on. Her name is Cathy, or Kathy, or Catherine, or Katherine– Cathy as she’ll always be in my head, is not a pleasant sort, actually Cathy is probably one of the most unpleasant, sociopathic, victimizing, users of a fictional human being you will ever come across in 20th century American literature. Also, I love her. Yesterday when I read that Ross and Lawrence were teaming up again, I knew before I read the body of the article linked to me in my inbox, that Jennifer was playing Cathy. There was no doubt in my body, or my mind that she would be taking on anyone else featured in Steinbeck’s work, because for one thing there aren’t a lot of female characters of great note in the novel other than Cathy. However, if you’re a big fan of the ’55 adaptation, I don’t judge you for thinking she was taking on Abra, the sweet, loving love interest to the twins Aron and Cal Trask. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t do sweet and loving though, she does complicated, passionate, and intelligent, at least those are the types of roles she’s taken on that have gotten her the most attention. Case in point, Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games, and Silver Linings Playbook, also if it’s ever released, Serena. To be clear, Cathy is the kind of character that most actresses wait their entire careers to play. It’s seriously a miracle that Jennifer Lawrence is the right age to take on someone as dynamic as Cathy is, especially since the character’s life in the novel spans from childhood to middle age, something that was left out of the 1955 version almost entirely, as it brought in Cathy as an older, decrepit woman.

Now about Ross, not going to lie I’m not a huge fan of what he did with The Hunger Games as a whole, however I am a fan of his previous works like Pleasantville, Sea Biscuit, Dave, and Big. He’s a good writer, he’s a visual thinker in his writing, which is what I believe is tumblr_mjq5znFUR51qhs5k0o1_r1_500needed in a new interpretation of Eden, because Steinbeck’s work is like drinking in atmosphere with words. Visually speaking I also think that Ross’ aesthetic fits the kind of settings that Eden takes place, which is late 18th, and early 19th century central California, AKA Steinbeck’s own backyard. Ross’ directorial work, at least to me, has almost seemed to be an almost love letter to the past, Pleasantville being his 1950s throw-back to situation comedies, and Sea Biscuit being a period piece set in the Great Depression era of the 1930s, and then The Hunger Games which also felt like it was set in the past, again– at least to me. I’m glad Ross is taking on this daunting task, I’m even more glad to know that he’s taking into account the size of the project and realistically planning for it to be a two part film. Why? Because 602 pages being cut down to two hours and 45 minutes, would likely require cutting out a slew of characters again– and I don’t even mean minor characters, I mean people who broke bread with each other for 30 years, kept each others secrets, and in one characters case raised another characters kids, because there was no one else there to do it, and also because they are awesome.

Gosh darn it folks, go read the book!

The Unsung Heroes Of The Hunger Games

The title says it all, but I don’t think it’s ever been fully discussed– there are a whole lot of unsung heroes in The Hunger Games trilogy. Everyone knows the big ones, or the main ones, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Melarck, and Finnick Odair– but what about the people who only show up for a couple of pages, or a few sentences, what about the people whose deaths are unknown, and they just disappeared?

The first unsung hero I can think of off the top of my head, is Mr. Everdeen. Yes, he doesn’t actually appear in any of the novels, but he’s talked about, and his posthumous presence is significant to quite possibly the entire plot of the series. In many ways Mr. Everdeen was the first Mockingjay, well– according to some people’s cannon, which is now currently Mr_everdeen_portraitbrainwashing me at the moment. However, we don’t actually know if Mr. Everdeen played a heady role in the on-going rebellion against the Capitol. We do however like to imagine that he did. I’m sure someone in comments will correct me.

Bonnie and Twill, yeah– shocker there, but if you really think about their presence in the story. If you really think about the message that they carried with their journey, and with their subsequent deaths, Bonnie and Twill were heroes, because up until then Katniss’ idea of the rebellion was so abstract, that when those two women came into her life, if ever so briefly, they still gave a face, and a voice to the thoughts that were only then starting to curdle in Katniss’ mind. So, therefore I say Bonnie and Twill, who unfortunately died somewhere between District 12 and 13, were heroines.

Thresh: He died in the 1st novel, but before he died at the hand of whom I’m now picturing as a giant blob, because that comforts me– he saved Katniss’ life. And now I’m sadly picturing that entire sequence again, and wishing that Gary Ross had kept the Blob’s freak out in the film adaptation, because it would have brought the significance of Clove’s death to the forefront, rather than making it somewhat of an afterthought, and also it would have given Mr. Blob a little more time to show the world his human side– yes, even though he was a blob. About Thresh though, his timing was perfect, and his existence was vital– so I say Thresh was a hero, and apparently Katniss and Peeta agree, because, yeah they acknowledge his life, and his efforts during their visit to District 10. Errm, and then get an Rue-and-thresh-the-hunger-games-29978336-500-500old man murdered. Ooopsy.

Buttercup the cat! Don’t roll your eyes at me, because it’s so true– BUTTERCUP IS A HERO! Yeah, I know, I know he didn’t fight on any fields of war, he didn’t put himself in any harms way to protect another, but damn that cat served a purpose, and had amazing timing. Think about it, in Mockingjay, where Buttercup sort of came into his own as a character, as much as a non-cartoon cat can, he supplied the people of District 13 with simple, but ample entertainment, by willingly playing Crazy Cat for possibly hours, thus distracting the populous from thinking about their close, and quite possibly eminent deaths. The clincher for Buttercup’s hero-dome is his showing up at the perfect time at the end of Mockingjay. Yep, talking about the emotional breakdown scene when Katniss is left in District 12 on her own, and Buttercup shows up. It may seem minute, but that was the moment where I think Katniss finally came to terms with everything she had been through, and it was the breakthrough moment where she started to finally heal, and so did Buttercup, because he may have been just a cat, but cats know when bad shit is going down, and he knew his person was gone. Buttercup the therapist, and the hero… don’t you forget it.

More heroes to come so stay tuned– FYI, none of them are named Peter or Sylar.

Them There Eyes

What About Haymitch?

It’s come to my attention over time that some characters in The Hunger Games trilogy Haymitch-haymitch-abernathy-28166477-1024-768just don’t get as much attention, and face it, as much love as the rest of them. Sure, Peeta’s got the whole artist with a heart of gold thing going on, and Finnick is the heartthrob with the sensitive streak a mile long, and Katniss is the Mockingjay and the heroine, but what about the trilogies resident surly drunk Haymitch Abernathy? Doesn’t he deserve some intense love, and scrutiny just like the three mentioned above? Well, I sure as hell think he does!

Where to begin with Haymitch though? Yeah, he’s a surly drunk, and an all around ass-hat half the time, but he serves a purpose, and he’s far from lacking in the brains department. However, sometimes I feel like the characterization of him as simply the drunk detracts from the reasons why he’s been plying himself with alcohol for the better part of his life. Haymitch is a victor, hard to wrap your brain around the image of him winning anything when he’s alcohol soaked likely 90% of the time, vomiting on himself, vomiting in public, and being showered off, whilst fully clothed, by a teenage boy he’s just met. Wow, the-teenage-boy-he-just-met bit makes it sound kind of pervy, doesn’t it? But that’s the thing, so much of Haymitch is just… strange, and unexplained.

What we know about him is this: Haymitch won The Hunger Games when he was 16 years-old, and he didn’t win by accident, he won by cunning, drive, fortitude, physical strength, and agility. And then there’s that The Capitol likely systematically killed off everyone in his family, including his girlfriend after he won said games. He has very few friends, but he is friends with Chaff a victor from District 11. Me thinks that Chaff and his brand of friendship is likely drinking though, lots of drinking, like black-out-drinking-I-don’t-know-my-name-anymore drinking. Sadly, this drinking

Haymitch in Catching Fire

Haymitch in Catching Fire

buddy theory has also prompted other theories that Chaff and Haymitch were also fuck-buddies. Me, I–I’d rather not go there. Also, he’s unmarried, and apparently has no children, ’cause you know– you don’t have to be married to have children. He’s a slob, but that should already have been figured out from the whole vomiting-on-self-problem. Wow, this guy is just a mess, how is he still breathing by the time Katniss and Peeta are unceremoniously dumped in his lap?

So, that’s what we know, or what we think we know. Here’s what we think, or many of us think, aside from the people who believe Haymitch and Chaff are sometimes sex partners: He’s got a raging case of PTSD, which is untreated, undiagnosed, and therefore the effects of being in The Hunger Games are just as fresh as they were when he was 16 years old. Also, he’s quite literally destroying him self from the inside out, because he self medicates with copious amounts of alcohol, i.e. he’s not a drunk by the sheer luck of a horrible genetic proclivity for addiction. Although all bets are off if Suzanne Collins comes out with a prequel about Haymitch, and it turns out his family has a history of substance abuse. He isolates himself on purpose, because The Capitol kills anyone who seems to get close to him emotionally His sense of humor is another way in which he isolates himself, because it’s cutting, dry, and more often than not his jokes and/or quips are at another persons expense. What else can I say about Haymitch, other than that he sometimes gets the best lines in all three of the novels? Oh, I know! That Gary Ross’ directional choices vastly changed the layman’s view of Haymitch thanks to him taking most of his knock-out-drunk behavior out of The Hunger Games film?

Let’s all hope, and pray that the Haymitch of the novels shows up a bit, or a lot more in Francis Lawrence’s renditions of the rest of the series, am I right– or amiright?

Them There Eyes

It’s Okay To Wonder

Earlier this week, Gary Ross said in an interview that it would have taken him at least eight months to properly prep and film Catching Fire. At the same time, Fox announced that it did not have a finished script for X-Men: Days of Future Past (the title apparently refers to a time jumping subplot of the comics. Thanks, floralsandstripes!) and thus will delay filming until April. If Fox had realized that they weren’t adequately prepared earlier, Gary would have gotten his eight months.

Gary Ross Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind Hunger Games director

Over us so soon?


A whole world of shoulda, coulda, woulda just opened up beneath our feet! Don’t feel guilty for wondering! We ALL wonder, even those of us who are cautiously optimistic about Francis Lawrence.

But then I remember my fiance’s response to The Hunger Games movie…
Him: Yeah, it was pretty good.
Me: Pretty good?! PRETTY GOOD?! Don’t you mean spectacular?
Him: I’m not saying it was bad. It was good! I just feel like something was missing.
(Quick Note: My fiance is not the movie critic type. He doesn’t hate on much of anything.)

The non-THG fanatics in my life had similar positive-but-still-pretty-neutral reactions. We can see it, even though that will never stop us from watching the movie repeatedly.

At the time, we weren’t really aware of Gary Ross’ process, as described by the man himself in this quote:
“I wear two hats. I don’t wear one hat. When you write and you direct that’s a linear process, it’s not a simultaneous process. I would’ve had to have written a script and prepped the whole movie in four months and on the first movie that’s a process that took me eight months. And I thought [Catching Fire] was a more difficult adaptation, not an easier one. I didn’t really feel I had the time I needed to live up to my own standards. And I haven’t had a moment’s regret.”

Before you get all hasty: COOL IT, HOMIES! YOU’RE MAKIN’ A SCENE! This is not a Gary Ross hate post! We’ve noticed that it’s kind of hip to hate on Gary Ross now that he’s left the franchise, but that ain’t happening here. Gary Ross was always be Boss for kickstarting this fandom right, but maybe this quote proves that a change in the reins isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Francis Lawrence experience director collaboration The Hunger Games Lady Gaga Water for Elephants

F-Law: Used to collaborating with some interesting characters…

The script for Catching Fire was the work of two Oscar winners, Simon Beaufoy and (allegedly!) Michael Ardnt, which probably wouldn’t have happened with Gary Ross at the helm. He writes the final version of all his film scripts. He’s a talented writer, but other talented writers may have been cut out of the picture. Gary had a very heavy hand in everything, including deciding every camera angle before shooting ever began and designing sets based on his specific vision. He describes his “neurotic” involvement in the DVD extras. Again, these aren’t bad things, but there’s valuable input from others being cast aside in what seems to be the “If you want something done right, do it yourself” approach.

We agree with what Hunger Games Fireside Chat discussed about three weeks ago: The more co-operative approach that Francis Lawrence is taking could yield interesting results. There’s more risk! It could blow up in his face. The costume designer or set guy or lighting supervisor could suck and an angry mob of fans will storm the Lionsgate office in an attempt to be the Mockingjay and lead a rebellion against Francis! We imagine they’d poke him with Mockingjay pins. BUT there could also be more surprise and vigor. One thing about The Hunger Games is that it’s pretty monotone. You can sense the strict control over the production as you watch it. Maybe Lawrence allowing other crew members be more actively involved in the creative process will breathe new life into the series.

Plus, if Gary Ross has no regrets about backing away from the series, maybe we shouldn’t feel that way either. We’ll always wonder what HIS Catching Fire looked like, but we’re interested to see the new team’s version even more.

“I Think She Would Tell You It’s Okay to Wonder” (Name that book!),
The Girl With The Pearl

They’ll Cut You

Within the last several weeks we’ve got not quite a deluge of casting confirmations for our beloved Catching Fire, but a good healthy sprinkling or two or three. Last two days we finally got our Enobaria, in the remarkably attractive Meta Golding, and our Brutus is now a Bruno,

Brutus is a Bruno

and he looks a might Italian, and it turns out– he totally is (other name is Gioiello, Gunn’s a stage-name). I don’t know why I find this appropriate? No, wait, I do– ’cause the original Brutus, the Roman figure actually, he was refined, deceitful, bit of a mama’s boy some people have interpreted, also conflicted (but who isn’t when you’re plotting to murder the leader of an empire?), also Rome’s in Italy, so there’s that. Personally, I always pictured both Enobaria and Brutus to look ethnic, and having a woman who’s Haitian, and a square jawed Italian guy from Ohio, well– works with my head canon like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s kind of astounding really how the supporting cast is jelling, so to speak, and that the people they’re pulling from the ranks are very much so filling the pictures many already had had in their minds for years. Take Lynn Cohen for instance– who I think I can say no one has anything bad to say about, except she’s not Betty White, right? It has to be addressed though, to those who wanted Betty White, that was never going to happen, she makes a living off of being Betty White, not being an actress– and the role of Mags requires someone who’s known for her acting chops, not her public persona. So, if you’re sad that Mags will be embodied by a respected actress, instead of a public figure, I don’t know, go watch re-runs of The Golden Girls? Lynn Cohen though, she’s the real deal– and we should be satisfied that they chose her, ’nuff said. 

Which brings me to the sad and somewhat disconcerting realization that some characters

Lynn Cohen

won’t even make the cut. Enobaria, Brutus, Mags, and all of the other tributes/victors, they’re going to make it, we know this from viewing innumerable times. But, there are secondary characters who aren’t victors who don’t have a name plate and an empty spot on that virtual board: I’m speaking of characters like Darius, Cray, Thread, Hazelle Hawthorne, all the Hawthornes really, Leevy, Bonnie, Twill, and possibly even Annie Cresta. Thread may make the cut, because we’ve seen rumblings just this week about Sons of Anarchy’s Patrick St. Esprit being in talks, but rumors are rumors, and we can’t believe them as far as we can throw our computer monitors. All of these characters are subject to being either cut down, or cut out of the story entirely, just like Madge Undersee, Lavinia, Mr. Mellark, and Greasy Sae were cut out of The Hunger Games. All of these characters serve, or served a purpose in the story, Madge’s purpose was replaced by a merchant in The Hob and a concerned look on the

Thread is that you?

woman’s face, Sae was maybe just someone in the background, and Mr. Mellark, well– he just doesn’t exist in Gary Ross’ version of the story, which makes me more sad than I thought I would be, because his scene with Katniss was extremely moving in the novel, and it would have given a bit more depth to both Katniss and to Peeta if they’d kept him in. From what we know about Catching Fire and the vision behind the film its self, is semi reassuring though, for the fact that we’ve repeatedly heard from actors, and from the director that the screenplay is the book, and they want to make the film the book. But is this a watered down, chopped up version of the book, where characters like Darius won’t see the light of day, because his actions, and humor can be replaced, or ignored? Will they omit Hazelle Hawthorne, and not give Gale the depth of having a face and a voice to embody a huge part of his family, and thus in a way ignore that his family is why he pretty much does EVERYTHING. I don’t know, all I know is– there are a few things I can see within reason removing or omitting from the story, but in many cases omitting secondary characters will do a disservice to the humanity, the expanse, and the diversity of the story as a whole.

Also, I like gingers.

Them There Eyes

Holy Plot Hole!

WOW! We asked for your opinions on all things Hunger Games and we have been blown away by your submissions! So let’s huddle around the campfire and share everyone’s thoughts on The Hunger Games!

First up is Katrina, a lovely Irish fan who has a bit of a bone to pick with Gary Ross.


Can I just start by saying that I like Gary Ross. He’s cool. He has a beard. Who doesn’t love beards? And he’s a fan of the series, so that is definitely an added bonus. I just wish everyone was like him, and us, and had read the series before they saw the first movie. But they hadn’t, so the movie became kind of confusing for some, and I just don’t want that to happen in Catching Fire. I like him as a guy, but his directing in The Hunger Games wasn’t really (in my personal opinion), the absolute best. Nobody’s perfect, but he left a lot to be desired for.

Katniss Everdeen The Hunger Games meme

Katniss Evermean

I mean, look; a main part of the plotline is that Peeta loves Katniss, but she at first doesn’t return the feelings for him. Now, sitting in the cinema as a Hunger Games fan, I of course knew this already. But my friend did not, and she was confused. The only sign of her not loving him is when she pushes him against the wall (MANNERS! Effie screams in my head), but she could have fallen in love with him in the arena. Because, you know, hormonal teenagers are hormonal. Well anyway, my friend didn’t understand why I whispered “It was all for the games, how you acted” like a looney bin at the end. Á la me, she finally understood the plot (after we got shushed by a worker). But still, not really a big problem, right?

Wrong. How are they going to explain President Snow’s threat to Katniss in Catching Fire, saying he knows their love isn’t real? I mean, Gale kisses her, not the other way around. So in her mind she could be all, “Aw hell no!” and go back to Peeta. And then when they kiss in the snow it’ll just be like they’re in love. It’ll just really confuse the audience further when she’s so cold towards him in Haymitch’s house.

Try to look at it from the audience’s point of view: Katniss kisses Peeta, aww, they’re in love, she saves his life, they hold hands, boom, next thing Snow’s telling her he knows about the kiss, Gale kisses her in a flashback, she’s a bitch to Peeta, then she’s all loved up again? There has to be something in between to hold it together. Maybe a talk with her mother about how she doesn’t love Peeta or something. I don’t know, I’m not a director. Although I’m beginning to wish I had some input on the first movie…well, maybe not, I’d have myself playing every part.

Also, how do we establish how she knows her prep team? She barely gave them a look in in the first movie. You don’t just go all emotional with a stranger (unless you’re at Alcoholics Anonymous and/or you just have a lot of feelings), and her prep team are basically strangers. And the whole Mockingjay pin thing. She’s not going to go to the Mayor’s house and say, ‘Move bitch, I want to see what’s on your dad’s TV.’ So how is she going to get in to the Mayor’s house when we don’t know that she knows Madge?

Katniss Peeta Capitol interview The Hunger Games

Their fake love is still better than most “real love” in movies!

I can think of several ways to pull taught the loose ends of this knot (or maybe I should ask Finnick), but not everyone is like me, sadly. So how Francis interprets this is going to remain a mystery until next November. I just hope he finds a way to make it all fit. There’s not really much I can do except complain until the next movie.

If he pulls it off right, the next two movies after that will fit together and be Cinna-sational. Marvel-ous. Effie-ortless. Someone-slap-me.

Poor Francis Lawrence, though. He has so much picking up to do. I have faith he’ll fill in these plot holes. He’s going to need a big shovel, but I’m sure with the help of the others on set it will be fantastic. With filming beginning in September, he has a lot of work to do.

As we say in Ireland; have a drink and go to work. Well, we don’t really say that. We’re not all alcoholics…at least, anyone under 18 isn’t.

These Three Kings

Three names have been released from the short list Lionsgate has allegedly compiled of directors they deem fit to direct Catching Fire. When I first saw the list I balked, namely because I know these three people’s work, I may not know it backwards and forwards, but I’ve been around awhile– so of course I’ve seen a film of theirs or two. I’m not proud of my initial reaction to their names actually, and I know it was because I was a bit too wrapped up in the “HE’S NOT GARY!” fervor. However, now that I’ve had time to marinate on all of this, and frankly come to terms with the fact that Catching Fire is going forward no matter what we say or do as a fandom — I’m genuinely excited by the three names released so far. I know, I know — I’m a total betrayer, I’m going to hell, blah, blah, blah. Well, no– I’m not, I’m just an honest-to-fucking-god-serious-film-goer, and I’m looking at these names and going, “ooh, this could kind of work.”

Let’s get this out-of-the-way. Alfonso Cuaron is a brilliant artisan director, but he has a tainted reputation where it comes to making book to film adaptations. Yep, talkin’ about Prisoner Of Azkaban. Bluntly I have to tell you all that I’ve never read the book the film is based on, and I also have to tell you now that I actually liked the film very much — but I know (oh, man do I know), that devout Harry Potter fans have a major bone to pick with Mr. Cuaron where it comes to what he did to their beloved book. Personally, I thought the film was innovative, layered, and dark, I also think that it was the first film in the Harry Potter franchise where the young cast was asked to actually act, and not simply react to things. I know that Dan Radcliffe credits Cuaron with being the first director to really challenge him as an actor, and that the Prisoner Of Azkaban project as a whole was the first to make him think that he’d possibly like to continue in the entertainment industry as an adult, which we all know he has now. As a serious fan of The Hunger Games, even though I respect Cuaron as an artist, and absolutely loved his work on projects like A Little Princess (still makes me cry my eyes out), Great Expectations (made me fall in love with Ethan Hawke… again), Y Tu Mamá También (died a few times watching it, it was that good, not for the kiddies though. Also introduced me to one of my many long time crushes — Gael Garcia Bernal), and Children of Men (where Clive Owen owned it, seriously), — the reputation he’s cultivated with his treatment of the source material of Harry Potter makes me very very nervous. The only consolation to the job going to Cuaron is that Simon Beaufoy has penned the script, and that Suzanne Collins has stated that she intends to be just as involved with Catching Fire as she was on The Hunger Games, and that she also intends to keep the details closer to the novel as well. These are the only things that would help me get through the possible heart palpitations his getting the gig would induce.

Alejandro González Iñárritu — I’m sorry, but this guy is kind of genius. The first project of his that I saw was Amores Perros, and I think my mouth hung open for most of the 154 minutes. This was the second film I ever saw with Gael Garcia Bernal in it, and he’s actually the reason I searched out the film to begin with, and I’m very glad that I did. It’s a film that has multiple story lines going at once, and they’re all interconnected. If you’ve ever seen the film adaptation of a whole bunch of Raymond Carter short stories called Short Cuts, directed by Robert Altman (you should see it), — it’s like that only set in 1999 -2000 Mexico City. He’s dark, very dark — but he knows people, and he tells their stories in a way that gets to the meat of it all, the emotion, the dirty dirty guts and slime of it all, and you don’t like it, and you don’t love it, but you fucking appreciate it as art, and as a representation of life as it truly is — imperfect. I would never kick up a fuss if he gets the job, because I know now, after much thought and consideration, that Catching Fire needs to go to a much darker place — and that if I’m really and truly honest — I always pictured Panem to be much more scary, and adult, and grim place than the way that Gary Ross envisioned it. Please don’t read me wrong, I loved what Ross did with The Hunger Games, but Catching Fire is not The Hunger Games — and Katniss, and Peeta, and also Gale all need to transition to even darker and more disturbed places mentally and emotionally, than they did in Hunger Games. Also, the principle cast is going to transition from mostly teenagers to adult characters like Finnick, Beetee, Plutarch, Johanna, and Chaff. Perhaps procuring a director whose dossier is more geared towards adults will prove to be a good way to go. I’m certainly not too nervous about Mr. Iñárritu in that sense — and you shouldn’t be either.

David Cronenberg — Um, well, he’s been working a damn long time, unfortunately I can only attest to having seen about three of the over 30 or so projects that have dawned his name in their credits. The films are: The Fly, eXitenZ, and Spider. Again, like Cuaron, and Iñárritu, Cronenberg is a director whose work is not for children, it’s probably not even a good idea for people under the age of 16 to see most of his works. He’s dark once again, just like the other two released on the list, and also like the others– he’s interesting. His work always makes you think about things on a deeper level than your average film. He makes smart-people movies, movies that get played in art houses, or the multiplexes that cater to more high end films. He’s not cookie-cutter “Hollywood”, where you eat a bag of popcorn and come out of the theatre feeling like you were entertained for an hour and a half. His films, in my experience, are films that leave you sitting for awhile, like I said before — thinking. Catching Fire needs to make us think, it needs to make the world think. Cronenberg, he’s not my favorite on this list — but I would not cry, or spit, or hiss if he got the gig.

Who do I want to get the gig though? If he was available, and he wasn’t neck deep in his current project — I’d want Sam Mendes.

Them There Eyes

Can We Stop Worrying Already? Apparently Not.

All we do is...

As you can tell from our posts this week, Gary Ross’ departure from Catching Fire shook us, and we’re not alone. To say that The Hunger Games fandom has been upended is a bit of an understatement.

We’d been following Hunger Games movie news from the very beginning. Every casting decision was questioned, every bit of news dissected, every photo and second of footage examined and debated about. And then we saw it and in general were impressed and very happy about it. We were supposed to be okay for Catching Fire! “Who’s your choice for Finnick/Johanna/Beetee/etc.?” they’d ask. “I trust Gary!” we’d say. His decisions turned out to be pretty spot on regarding pretty much everything and we knew he’s a fan like us, so we weren’t worried about Catching Fire.

Until now.

Now it feels like it did all over again. All the uncertainty we felt regarding The Hunger Games movie is back, and it feels as if it’s gotten even worse. Now we’re worried that this little franchise that could will get derailed because they’re bringing in someone new. We’re worried that the choice of director will be all wrong. We’re worried about an inconsistent vision for the series. We’re worried that some of the most beloved characters in the series will be cast poorly and in a strictly superficial way. We’re worried that this new guy won’t stick to the book because they don’t have the same respect for the source material. We’re worried that whoever directs won’t have enough time to do a good job.

Credit: Indiewire

Of the 3 named directors, I'm most ok with Cronenberg, but I'm dying to know who else is on the list (Credit: IndieWire)

It’s a little unfair. I don’t exactly envy whoever is coming in to replace Gary because there is so much doubt among such passionate fans. Whoever it is will have a lot to prove to us. The bar was set pretty high, and frankly, we’re kind of pissed off that we have to worry again.

So, future director of Catching Fire, be careful. We want you to do well, we do. It only benefits us if you turn out to do a great job, because we’ll get a good movie we can be proud of. But we are worried, and we don’t like being this way.

All this worrying is not good for my health

Patience is a Virtue

Yes, of course I’m going to write about Gary Ross today, what else would I write about?! Last night I was sad about the news, even shed a few tears, it literally felt like someone had died to me. But now, oh now — now I’m just angry. I thought I would write an article today about who I think would be a good replacement for Ross, but I’m kind of too pissed to do that right now, so no fantasy director lists will be blinding your retinas all thanks to me today. Nope, today it’s about hissing, and biting, and railing and wondering one thing, one tiny fucking thing (oh yeah, there might be swearing today), if time = money, and money = time, and Lionsgate has all the money — why can’t they just make more time?

No matter who takes the helm on Catching Fire it’s my opinion and many others, that they will not have enough time to make the kind of film Catching Fire deserves to be made into. The schedule is this: Four months for pre-production, that includes casting, concept art, set building, location scouting, legalities, permits for special effects — like pyrotechnics, transport, lodging, story boarding, costuming, training of actors and stunt people for action sequences, rehearsal time. Oh, and the most important thing — finalizing a script. That’s right people, they don’t have a finished script yet, they have a first draft, and no film ever gets shot with a first draft of a script. Production is slated to begin in late August, and they have to be done by December so Jennifer Lawrence can travel to England (I assume it’ll shoot in England again), to work on X-Men in January. That’s four months to shoot Catching Fire. Do you know how long it took to film The Hunger Games? 5 months. There’s not enough time in this schedule to make a truly quality film, a film that deserves to be the visual representation of this installment in The Hunger Games series.

Shylah Addante of DownWithTheCapitol.Net proposed an interesting idea, that I personally think would solve a lot of these scheduling problems. First it involves pushing back the release date by four months, so instead of having a November, 2013 release — it would have a March, 2014 release. The filming schedule would have to be altered, or blocked, or divided into even wider blocks of time, i.e. shoot the District 12 scenes in the autumn of 2012, disperse the cast and crew until summer of 2013, and then shoot the Arena and the Capitol scenes. Productions do disperse for months at a time, it has been done — so don’t think this idea is odd, please. I know it’s a long shot, but a petition has already gone up about this, we’re asking people to tag Tumblr posts with “CatchingFire2014”, your tweets with #CatchingFire2014, and if you’re so inclined — make youtube videos declaring that you’re willing to wait a few extra months for Catching Fire, and urge Lionsgate to simply push back the release so the story can get the treatment it deserves, not a rushed slap up job it may turn out to receive. Also, pushing back the release means Gary Ross, who has bowed out, could potentially come back to direct if he wants, and this time with enough time to make something consistent and quality. He has the notes now, the fan reviews, the professional reviews, he knows what people think he did wrong — and he can correct it or take it into account.

This is really about making this film into what it should be, even if Gary doesn’t come back to direct — giving the new director enough time to make something truly amazing is key.

Them There Eyes