The will-he-won't-he directorial drama surrounding The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire has come to a close: Gary Ross is off the project. A report that Ross was out appeared to be premature and a deal seemed poised to conclude after the weekend. Now Deadline reports a Lionsgate exec as saying "I am in shock," although a statement from the studio assures that the director will remain "part of the Lionsgate family." Ross's rationale for leaving the already intensely successful film franchise, as delivered in a statement: "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." Vulture is predisposed to believe it was indeed a tough choice for Ross, as he told us prior to the Hunger Games premiere that though Catching Fire's particulars weren't clear yet, he intended to direct.