"The Hunger Games" director Gary Ross will not be returning at the helm of the wildly popular film's sequel, "Catching Fire," and franchise star Josh Hutcherson says he's sad to see him go.
"I'm going to miss Gary Ross -- he was my guy on that movie," Josh told Access Hollywood at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, where the actor was honored with the Vanguard Award for his work with the anti-bullying campaign, Straight But Not Narrow. "You know, I think he really brought a lot to the movie."
Although Josh (who plays the kind-hearted Peeta Mellark in the big screen adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel) will miss having Gary at the helm, he has faith in Francis Lawrence, who has reportedly been offered the job of director for "Catching Fire."
"They're talking about making a deal with Francis Lawrence -- he's fantastic," he told Access . "I think he's a very talented director."
As for being recognized by GLAAD (at just 19 years old, the handsome star is the youngest recipient of the Vanguard Award) Josh said he was "blown away" when he learned he had been chosen for the honor.
"I was shocked... it means a lot," he said. "Equal rights for people has been a huge passion of mine since before I was even born, in my opinion, so to have people come out here and support me and this whole cause is fantastic."
"Catching Fire" is slated to begin filming in August and will hit theaters on November 22, 2013.
Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.