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The Hunger Games director Gary Ross sat down with Moviefone for a great new interview. In it, he touches on working with author Suzanne Collins to add scenes to the film and much more.

Below is a lengthy portion of the interview we enjoyed reading ourselves. Click here to read the full interview which includes Ross’ thoughts on asking Steven Soderbergh to film a scene for him, individual casting decisions, and more!

How did Suzanne Collins feel about your adding scenes?
I would never give myself carte blanche to make changes. My job is to faithfully adapt something I love and to get at the essence of what I love about it. It’s incredibly compelling. It’s wonderfully urgent. It’s the beautiful evolution of a girl into a leader as she matures under very extraordinary circumstances. So it wasn’t so much about having carte blanche, but finding the most deft way to get at the essence of the story. So I wrote a draft of the script and then I sent it to Suzanne. We’d talked about it a bunch and she responded really, really favorably to the script. And then she came out to California so we could talk further and she had wonderful thoughts about it. And we started pitching back and forth and she was bringing a whole new layer in her insight because she had obviously lived with these characters a long time and before we knew it, we were working together. it wasn’t like I invited her in to work on the next draft with me, it just evolved. So I said, “Well, this is crazy. You’re not giving me notes, why don’t we just write the next draft together?” And she said, “Great.” So we locked ourselves up in a room and wrote the next draft of the script. Which was great for me, because I hadn’t had a writing partner since Anne Spielberg on “Big.” And I loved writing with someone again. That was a fun, special, really unique experience.

Did you feel like you had to tone down some of the violence to get that PG-13 rating or did you decide to make the film and then worry about the rating later?
I think that there’s a way to be as urgent and as compelling as the book is without being lurid or indulgent with the violence. If you tell the story from Katniss’s point of view, which is what the job is, then you’re in a perspective where you never become lurid or fetishistic about the violence. It’s a horror going on around her, but that can be done in a way that is very precise and select and even sparing at times without sacrificing any of the urgency or the immediacy of it. So no, it’s not done for the rating. It’s pretty intense. I’ve had people see the movie and they said it was more intense than they even expected. But it’s PG-13. It’s not gratuitous in any way. It’s just appropriate, I feel.

Are you also going to direct “Catching Fire?”
I’m attached to the next one. I’m looking forward to it. Simon Beaufoy, ["Slumdog Millionaire"] who’s a writer I’ve been a fan of for a long, long time, is doing the script. We had great meetings with him when he was here in LA. And I’m really excited about that. I can’t write the “Catching Fire” script right now because I’m finishing ["Hunger Games"], and we’re on a schedule where the script has to get written right now. So I’m unbelievably fortunate that someone like Simon is going to be writing the script. That was the person I wanted to do it. One of the great things about this is that you get to work with people that you respect and you love and I think I’m at a point in my career where that’s exciting for me. Would it be great to have time to write the script right now? Yeah. But I get to work with Simon Beaufoy. That’s a thrill. He’s somebody that I respect and I just love his work.

  • guest

    it worries me that gary isn’t writing the Catching Fire script

    • Peeta Mellark

      Oh, you aren’t the only one :/

      • Alex

        neither of you should be worried.Simon Beaufoy is A genius and Slumdog millionaire was a fantastic, gritty, gut wrecking movie- just like the hunger games is.

        so not worried at all, in fact pretty excited!!! 

        • hpatdh33

          Exactly, If you read the book he adapted for Slumdog Millionaire, its pretty incredible how much of it is his own.  He made an ok book with a lame ending into a powerful academy award winning film.  He is talented, I don’t think anyone should worry except book purists.  But he already said the book is written like a movie so there was no need for drastic changes.

      • EmmaMills

         I’m worried, as well, especially since Suzanne Collin’s co-wrote the script for THG and there hasn’t yet been any mention of her name tied with Beaufoy’s for the Catching Fire script. I feel like one of the reason’s the script for this movie is going to work is because Gary is so PASSIONATE about this story, and paired with Suzanne, I am sure that that passion spilled over onto the page. Beaufoy, in that manner of speaking, is an outsider to this world. And you can be the best script writer in the universe, but if you don’t “get it”, then none of that matters. Hopefully, though, with Ross still behind the helm, overseeing everything, and Collin’s input still there as well, then it will all work out for the best.

  • http://twitter.com/CassiopeiaDrake Cassie Drake

    It sounds like he just made the film and it just happened to work out to be PG-13 without many cuts, but I’d be interested in seeing if anything got deleted or changed slightly from his original plan so as to keep the rating in mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Wang/542480760 Maria Wang

    I wonder what this film would be like without restraints of rating.  On the other hand, Ross is right. There are other ways to portray violence and the horrors of the Games without gore or blood.  Besides, we get much more violence in video games these days that make the Hunger Games look mild in comparison. What bothers me about the MPAA is ….teens fighting to the death – pg13.  A few vulgar words  - Rated R.  I mean, honestly.  

    Check out why this film is rated pg 13. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/parentalguide#certification

  • http://dervish-banges.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    I’m excited for the additional insight we get on President Snow & the game makers. 

  • HG

    Next time someone interviews Gary Ross will they please ask him who is playing Finnink! Also I hope that they focus more on the Quarter Quell than in the books…the first half is a little boring and lagging.

  • http://twitter.com/twixie09 Lauren Gizzi

    Oh, Simon Beaufoy is amazing! (:

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