Steven Soderbergh Explains How He Ended Up Directing Second Unit on THE HUNGER GAMES

     September 1, 2011


Earlier this month, we reported the surprising (and delightful) news that director Steven Soderbergh was directing some second-unit work on Gary Ross’ highly anticipated adaptation of The Hunger Games. While cool to hear, the news seemed a bit odd, as it’s not every day that you get an Academy Award-winning director to oversee your second-unit shooting. At the time, we noted that Soderbergh and Ross are good friends, so it was likely a case of one director doing a favor for another, as Ross has to get the film finished in time for a March release date and having a trustworthy friend onboard makes things go a bit smoother.

Soderbergh recently commented on his work on the film, explaining how he ended up in the position of second-unit director. In addition to recounting what brought him to the shoot, the technophile director also talked a bit about the second-unit shooting process. Hit the jump to see what he said.

hunger-games-teaser-poster-01Speaking with Moviefone, Soderbergh explained how he nabbed the role of second-unit director on the film:

“The story is really simple. Back in April, [director] Gary [Ross] — who is a close friend of mine I’ve exchanged creative favors with non-stop over the last 15 years — when he got the boards for the shoot in April 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.’ I said, ‘Actually, that works out. We’ll just be finishing Contagion and prepping Magic Mike and, yeah, it could be fun.’

Cut to two months later, and I show up to do this thing. Of course the whole design of it and what’s fun about it, for me, is my job is to come in and duplicate exactly what Gary and Tom Stern, the [cinematographer], are doing. To mimic as closely as I can to their aesthetic. And that’s what I attempted to do. But if I’ve done my job properly, I hope I did, by design, you won’t be able to tell what I did. Because it’s supposed to cut seamlessly into what they’re doing. That’s the whole point. That’s why he asked me to come down, because he knew that I would be rigorous about matching what they were doing.”

So there you have it. I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games books, so it’s definitely exciting to know that Soderbergh had a hand (however small) in the finished product. While the teaser trailer was pretty damn underwhelming, Ross is still shooting the flick so it’s understandable that there’s not a lot that they could actually show. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games opens March 23, 2012.


  • João Paulo – Brasil

    This good think, great friends helping each other, i really hope Gary Ross do a good job with this movie.

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  • jymmmymack

    This movie is horrible. Trust me, I’ve seen 10 seconds of it.

    • pulpfictionbluray

      jymmymack, you’re like the anti Matt Goldberg.. LOL… nice!.. haha.

      anyways, i didn’t know Clint’s DP is the one shooting this. so that must mean this was shot on film? i was really hoping, and since Soderberg was hired to do second unit, that they’ll use the Red Epic cameras used in The Social Network and the upcoming Contagion. the quality looks AMAZING!. if you’re going digital, that’s the right way.

  • Bill

    Forgive me for hijacking the thread, but this seemed like the logical place to ask. Everyone’s talking about Contagion/his impending retirement etc – why is no one mentioning haywire, the other film he has in the can with Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antionio Banderas, Channing Tattum etc etc? It’s like this movie doesn’t exist, yet it’s listed as having a release date …last month. Does anyone know what is going on?

    • Adam Chitwood

      Soderbergh moved the release date to January 20th, as he thought the film would be better placed after the release of Contagion, since Contagion is the sort of film he’s usually known for. But yeah, it opens nationwide in January.