When it was announced that Gary Ross would not be helming ‘Catching Fire,’ the high profile sequel to ‘The Hunger Games, the studio knew they not only lost a director but a screenwriter too. See, Ross had rewritten the original script that was scribed by Billy Ray to the point that Ray’s version was said not be used at all. Now that Ross is gone, so was the opportunity for him to do work on a rewrite for ‘Catching Fire.’
The original screenplay for ‘Catching Fire’ was written by Simon Beaufoy of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘127 Hours’ and this year’s ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.’ Ever since Ross’ departure, Lionsgate has been looking for someone to do a revision on the script and it looks like they may have found that person in the form of Michael Arndt.
Arndt first came onto the Hollywood radar when his script ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ won him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. He’s also credited for writing Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 3’ and was recently hired to do a rewrite on the ‘Phineas and Ferb’ movie for Disney.
‘Catching Fire’ is based on the second book from ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy and if you’re not familiar with the story, he’s a book description courtesy of Amazon:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
Hopefully Arndt will follow the path of his predecessor and have the script follow as closely to the book as possible. Then it’s up to director Francis Lawrence to bring the words to life. Production is hoped to start sometime in the fall as ‘Catching Fire’ is under a very tight time schedule due to Jennifer Lawrence’s commitment to film the sequel to ‘X-Men: First Class.’ Hopefully neither the script nor the movie will not be sacrificed in order to get it done.