'Hunger Games': The Real Story Behind Steven Soderbergh's Involvement

" 'Why is he here? What's going on? Is the movie in trouble?,' " the "Contagion" director says of the Internet speculation surrounding his association with the high-profile project.
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Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh is speaking out about his work on Lionsgate's The Hunger Games.

Earlier this month, THR reported that the director was doing second unit filming on the Jennifer Lawrence feature, after people working on the set revealed that little tidbit on Twitter. The director, currently making the press rounds for his upcoming Matt Damon-Gwyneth Paltrow thriller Contagion, revealed the real reason why he was in North Carolina -- and it wasn't because the movie was in trouble, as was speculated on the web.

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After showing up on-set, "the f---ing firestorm starts," Soderbergh told Moviefone. " 'Why is he here? What's going on? Is the movie in trouble? Is he directing footage from the second one?' All of this crazy-ass speculation."

"Back in April, [The Hunger Games director] Gary [Ross] -- who is a close friend of mine [and] I've exchanged creative favors with non-stop over the last 15 years -- when he got the boards for the shoot ... called me and said, 'Hey, first week of August, I got these two days of second unit, Is there any way you can come down and help me out? Because I'd rather have you do it than hire somebody who I don't know,' " Soderbergh recalled. "I said, 'Actually, that works out.' We'll just be finishing Contagion and prepping Magic Mike, and yeah, it could be fun."

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When the Ocean's helmer got to set to film, he noted several times that it was his duty "to come in and duplicate exactly what Gary and [cinematographer] Tom Stern ... are doing, to mimic as closely as I can to their aesthetic."

He continued: "And that's what I attempted to do. But if I've done my job properly ... by design, you won't be able to tell what I did because it's supposed to cut seamlessly into what they're doing."

Soderbergh was a producer on Ross' Pleasantville, which starred Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire.

The Hunger Games is slated for a March 23, 2012 release.

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