May 06, 2012 3:59pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Hunger Games' Star Liam Hemsworth Speaks Out on Director Gary Ross' Exit
Liam Hemsworth has broken his silence on the director shakeup heard 'round the world.
The Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross shocked fans -- and his actors -- when he opted not to return for the franchise sequel, Catching Fire. The decision was said to be due to a rushed production schedule, the result of star Jennifer Lawrence's commitment to another high-profile sequel, Fox's X-Men: First Class.
PHOTOS: 'The Hunger Games' Cast
Lionsgate quickly reacted, offering the coveted gig to I Am Legend and Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence.
"The last I heard the new director had just come on, so that's really cool," Hemsworth told E! Online. "I'm excited about that. I think we shoot the last few months of this year."
As THR earlier reported, Michael Arndt is currently in talks with Lionsgate to work on the script for Catching Fire as the studio barrels toward a late-summer production start.
"I'm really sad to see that Gary's not going to be part of the second one," Hemsworth continued. "He did such an amazing job on the first."
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of THR's 'Hunger Games' Cover Shoot
But the actor remains optimistic, adding: "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."
Co-star Josh Hutcherson broke his silence last month, telling THR that he was "excited" to meet with Lawrence for the first time and that he expected production to be "a fun ride."