The LA Times takes a look at Gary Ross and what about him is responsible for leaving Catching Fire.
But like many talented artists, Ross has a few issues. Idiosyncrasies, let’s call them. He’s particular. And he can be restless. He comes on to projects, then he drops off projects. He gets excited, and the producers who work with him get excited, and then he gets excited about something else.
Yes, that means he has a deep and insatiable curiosity. And few assail his abilities — Ross is, in the opinion of most, one of the more skilled directors working within the commercial movie system. But his curiosity and his restlessness come with a flip side, the side that means you don’t direct a lot of movies.
This is not a secret in Hollywood. Before “Hunger Games,” if you talked to any one of the agents who are tasked with knowing what’s going on at the studios at any given moment, chances are that sooner or later Ross’ name would come up for a project. Sometimes this was followed by a barely perceptible eye roll. The kind that turns “Gary Ross wants to do it” into “We both know Gary Ross is not really going to do it.” Over several months in 2009, entertainment outlets reported on three different high-profile projects he had become involved with in various capacities — a biopic about Lance Armstrong, an adaptation of the classic Matt Helm spy novels and a spinoff “Spider-Man” titled “Venom.”
As with any development news, some of these projects were firmer than others. But it’s notable that none of these movies ever saw the light of day.
In fact, before this year, no Ross project has seen the light of day since 2003, a long time when you consider that said ’03 movie was not some flop that landed him in director jail but “Seabiscuit,” the highest-grossing drama of the year, which should all but give you license to do what you want, with whose-ever money you want, in the years that follow. Yet over those years, Ross directed nothing. (It should be noted that he did write a number of scripts during this time, including those for 2008′s “The Tale of Desperaux” and the upcoming “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”)
In Ross’ case it was, in part, that he wanted to be involved in nearly every aspect of the film, even aspects another director might have delegated.
Ross would have had time to get the movie ready in four months. But he wouldn’t have had time to do his own script rewrite. And Ross wanted to do his own script rewrite.
Actually, he probably would have even had time for that script rewrite if he farmed out some of the more technical pre-production aspects to a trusted deputy or a veteran technical filmmaker. But he apparently didn’t want to farm out some of the more technical pre-production aspects to a trusted deputy or a veteran technical filmmaker.
And so, as he’s done a fair number of times over his career, he said no to the director’s chair.
After a blockbuster like “The Hunger Games,” Gary Ross will undoubtedly be able to write his own ticket. But after some of the traits he has displayed over the years, it’s not clear how quickly he’ll be picking up the pen.
Category: Movie News