Is Josh Hutcherson convinced Catching Fire is in good hands?

“Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson was, up until a couple of weeks ago, convinced Gary Ross – director of the recent hit – was the only man capable of shooting the sequel.

How quickly one changes their mind when a poison pen is pressed against their cranium.

With Ross now out, and Francis Lawrence (“Constantine”) now in, Hutcherson’s not exactly reciting approved lines from a press release but he is reasonably OK with the decision to play musical chairs on sequel, “Catching Fire”. At the same time, he says  Ross has gone through a box of Kleenex since exiting the production.

“I have spoken to Gary. And I literally don’t think I’ve talked to somebody on the phone and they’ve sounded more upset than he was,” Hutcherson told MTV News. “He was so disappointed that he couldn’t do it. Unfortunately, with the scheduling and the timing, he just didn’t have the time to write the script and prep it the way he wants to, the way his work ethic allows him to be as great as he is, which made me extremely sad.

“Gary, I think, 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’s going to be hard for Francis to come in, for sure,” he added. “But Francis 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. I haven’t spoken to Francis. I’ve spoken to Gary.”

Hutcherson says he hopes Lawrence, who has proven himself quite the stylish director with the Beyonce and Britney Spears music clips he has done, tries to somewhat emulate what Ross has done.

“I think he’ll stay true to the first one. Gary’s already established a tone and a theme and kind of a whole world. So I think Francis will operate within that. I hope so,” he said. “At the same time, if I were directing, I’d want to bring my own thing to it. So I hope he brings something different to it, which I’m sure he will.”

“The Hunger Games” has so far grossed $400 million in domestic box office receipts.