So why was director Steven Soderbergh working on The Hunger Games?

Last month the news broke that famed director Steven Soderbergh was helping out with filming on The Hunger Games. Now Soderbergh has revealed exactly why he was there and what he was doing.

Thanks to a few production people letting it slip out on Twitter, the surprising news surfaced that Soderbergh—director of hits like Ocean's Eleven and Traffic—had traveled down to North Carolina to shoot some second-unit footage on The Hunger Games for director Gary Ross.

Naturally, the immediate assumption in Hollywood was that the movie was in trouble, Ross was falling behind and someone was needed to head down there and rescue the film, which is based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling YA dystopian novel.

But Soderbergh has now told Moviefone that nothing could be further from the truth:

"Back in April, Gary—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.' I said, 'Actually, that works out. We'll just be finishing (virus film) Contagion and prepping (male stripper flick) Magic Mike, and yeah, it could be fun.'"

Soderbergh added that if he's done his job right, you won't even be able to tell which footage he shot, saying his task was to "come in and duplicate exactly what Gary and [cinematographer] Tom Stern ... are doing, to mimic as closely as I can to their aesthetic."

Soderbergh, by the way, has dabbled in sci-fi himself with his underrated 2002 remake of Solaris and the excellent Contagion, which opens Sept. 9 and features Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne battling the global outbreak of a nasty new superbug.

As for The Hunger Games, the movie stars Winter's Bone and X-Men: First Class' Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen and arrives in theaters next March 23. Don't know about you, but we'll be looking closely to see if we can spot Soderbergh's work.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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