‘Hunger Games’ Actors Talk Gary Ross’ ‘Catching Fire’ Exit

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By Tomika Anderson, Special to CNN

(CNN) — “Hunger Games” heartthrobs Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are glad to have Francis Lawrence on board to direct their next film, “Catching Fire,” but that doesn’t make it any easier to see their old director, Gary Ross, exit the franchise.

“I’m really sad to see that Gary’s not going to be part of the second one. He did such an amazing job on the first,” Hemsworth told E!.

That said, “I think that there’s still so many people a part of it that want the film to be great and care about it so much that they’re not going to bring the wrong person on,” the actor added, saying he’s amped to see where Lawrence takes the franchise with the next film.

“I’m excited about that,” he continued. “I think we shoot the last few months of this year.”

Hutcherson also said as much to MTV, noting that Ross “brought so much to the movie, and he created that whole world that was so close to the book and so perfect in so many ways,” that it may not be entirely easy for Lawrence to pick up the thread.

“But,” Hutcherson went on, “Francis [Lawrence] is extremely talented and everyone I’ve talked to says he’s the best guy in the world. So I think he’s going to bring a lot.”

Lawrence will also have to get to work pretty soon: “Catching Fire” is scheduled to be released November 22, 2013.