Last week, Lionsgate made their official announcement stating that director Francis Lawrence would be taking over from Gary Ross on the Hunger Games movie franchise. But an interesting development happened this weekend. It seems the studio is looking for rewrites on the script for Catching Fire and has chosen Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt for the job.
So we already knew Lawrence was set to direct Catching Fire but Lionsgate put out the official word last week. “Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne [Collins‘] brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss’ emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life,” said Erik Feig, Lionsgate’s President Of Production.
“From the very beginning of this brilliant trilogy’s journey from page to screen, our first priority has been to stay true to the heart and soul of Suzanne Collins’ powerful stories. From my first conversation with Francis, I knew he would make a great partner for both me and Suzanne. His passion for Catching Fire and inspired ideas for a faithful adaptation make him the perfect director for this movie. I know this will be a wonderful collaboration and I cannot wait to get started,” said producer Nina Jacobson.
Collins wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of her novel The Hunger Games with Ross but Lionsgate decided to go with someone else for Catching Fire because they wanted to start production before the first film even hit theaters. They chose Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy for the gig but now it looks like they have changes in mind.
The Hollywood Reporter says Ardnt, “who won an Oscar for his Little Miss Sunshine screenplay and penned Toy Story 3, is in talks with Lionsgate to work on the high-profile sequel.” They continue, “The sequel is barreling toward a late-summer production start. While Lionsgate doesn’t yet have a deal with Arndt, if he signs on, he will have to work double-time to get the script ready due to a squeezed schedule caused by star Jennifer Lawrence’s commitment to Fox’s X-Men: First Class sequel.”
I was looking forward to seeing what Beaufoy had to offer but I’m equally excited someone like Arndt will put his ingredients into the bread as well. Though there’s no word how much of Beaufoy’s work will be kept or exactly how much Arndt will be doing either.
Catching Fire will hit theaters Nov. 22, 2013.
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