Belfast Telegraph

Josh Hutcherson: Ross perfect for Hunger Games

Josh Hutcherson "can't imagine" making The Hunger Games sequel without director Gary Ross.

The actor plays Peeta Mellark in the blockbuster movie, which has now raked in more than $450 million at the worldwide box office.

Before it was announced that Gary had decided not to helm the follow-up film Catching Fire, Josh was quizzed on whether he wanted to work with the director again.

"Oh, for sure! There's not much doubt in my mind that he'll be doing it," he told Collider.com when asked if Gary would return. "I think so. I don't think there's a chance at all that he wouldn't do it. He killed the first one. He absolutely knocked it out of the park. Everyone who worked with him loved him. Myself and Jennifer [Lawrence] and all of the other cast members loved him. I couldn't imagine making the movie without him. That's what I have to say about that. There was no official statement made. There are a lot of different ways that you negotiate in movies. There are different tactics, for sure.

"Gary is my guy, 100 per cent, through and through."

On Tuesday, Gary confirmed he will not be returning for the sequel. Following Josh's comments, this decision is sure to disappoint the cast and crew.

The director revealed he had decided not to continue with the franchise because of the tight schedule - Catching Fire could begin shooting as early as this year.

"Despite recent speculation in the media, and after difficult but sincere consideration, I have decided not to direct Catching Fire," Gary said in a statement posted on deadline.com.

"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."

The Hunger Games saw Jennifer Lawrence play teen heroine Katniss Everdeen, who participates in a televised competition where children fight to the death.

The movie was adapted from Suzanne Collins' popular trilogy of books.

It is not yet known if Gary will return to helm Mockingjay - which is based on the final book and will be split into two movies.

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