Gary Ross, who directed the first movie in the series, walked away from the sequel, Catching Fire, after failing to reach an agreement with studio bosses over the shoot's time schedule, and I Am Legend moviemaker Lawrence has been announced as his replacement.
The film's star Hutcherson previously insisted Ross would be the only director capable of taking charge of the second film, telling reporters, "I think Gary's the man. Gary, in my mind, is the only one that could ever direct the second one. That's what I'm sticking to."
However, the actor has now publicly backed Lawrence as he prepares to start work on Catching Fire, telling E! Online, "Gary Ross was the best guy in the world. I think he brought so much to the movie. I'm definitely going to miss him...
"Francis Lawrence is extremely talented. I've heard he's the nicest guy in the world. I'm really excited to see what he's going to do with it."