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.