With Elizabeth Banks’ friend Gary Ross out as writer-director for The Hunger Games follow up, Catching Fire, some wondered if Banks would be out, too.
“No way”, Banks says during a recent Los Angeles interview promoting her latest movie, People Like Us, opening June 29.
But she does have ties that bind with the director. The actress made her major movie debut in Ross’ Seabiscuit.
And, she also lobbied the writer-director aggressively. The obsessive fan of Suzanne Collins trilogy of sci-fi novels desperately needed to play the high-profile Hunger Games part of Effie Trinket. And she convinced him she could.
The subsequent film of the first book, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, went on to earn positive reviews and raked in $660.8 million US at the box office world wide.
During promotional interviews for The Hunger Games, Ross gave every indication he was returning to write and direct Catching Fire (recently renamed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), which begins filming in the fall for a November, 2013 release.
A series of events occurred in quick succession soon after his optimism which prompted Ross to seek other film adventures.
He was replaced by director Francis Lawrence, a pop music video director who made his film debut with 2007?s I Am Legend. Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) and Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire) are writing the Catching Fire screenplay.
In the meantime, Banks continues to be philosophical in a ‘that’s showbiz’ kind of way.
“I am really happy for Gary because he made the decision that was right for him,” Banks says. “He will go on to have a lovely life, and a great career, because The Hunger Games is a great movie, and he proved that he’s an amazing writer.”
Still, it’s onward for the actress. “It will be good to have Catching Fire seen through fresh eyes,” she says.
At this point, Banks isn’t sure how prominent her Effie part will be in the second film. “Effie does have a little more to do in the (Catching Fire) book, but you never know what’s going to make it to the screen.”