Elizabeth Banks said today that she exited as director of Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 because delayed shooting – the film is now set for a Christmas 2017 instead of Summer 2017 release – would interfere with her duties as a parent. “We’ve been in development and it’s taking longer than we thought,” said the actress, Pitch Perfect franchise producer and director of last year’s Pitch Perfect 2. The comments came during a panel at the Producers Guild of America’s 8th annual Produced By conference at Sony Pictures.

“I thought I was going to direct the movie in the summer,” said Banks, who has two children. “It was really important to me to direct the movie in summer because if we pushed into fall it bumped up against my parental responsibilities, which made me feel uncomfortable.”

Banks’ husband and Brownstone Productions partner Max Handelman, also interviewed on panel, noted that the movie’s newly announced Dec. 22 2017 release date was Universal’s call, and that 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2 had originally been intended for a holiday release.

“The summer of 2017 feels incredibly crowded,” he said.

Banks also expressed confidence in the threequel. “I think it’s going to be a great infusion of energy in the third film,” she said, adding that coming up with a good – and not repetitive – storyline was a challenge.

Also during the panel, Banks said a focus on female-driven content propels her work as both a producer and director.

“I like female characters. I can’t in my soul develop female characters that are arm candy or incidental,” she said, later revealing that she “plopped” herself next to Steven Spielberg when she starred in his 2002 film Catch Me If You Can to observe his directing style.

“When you get in this business as an actress, if you’re ambitious, the roles are not that interesting after a while. You play a lot of girlfriends and wives,” she said. “I wanted more control over how to tell stories.”