simon beaufoy

With director Gary Ross moving onto greener pastures, Lionsgate snatched up Francis Lawrence (I am Legend) to helm next year’s Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. In addition to a new director, the studio has just called for a new script as well.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar award winner Michael Arndt, has been hired on to rewrite the script originally written by Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy. Arndt is known for horrifying children and bringing adults to tears with Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

With Catching Fire being set for a theatrical release sometime in November of 2013, Arndt has plenty of work to get done in a very short amount of time. What are the odds that there will be at least one scene with a slow moving conveyor belt in front of a giant furnace?

In my opinion, Lionsgate is rushing the filming of Catching Fire. They have a decent director and snazzy writer at their disposal, yes, but churning out a quality film in such brief period of time seems an impossible task. It’s too big a gamble on too big a franchise.

Here’s a quick synopsis on Catching Fire:

– SPOILER ALERT –

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.

Source: /Film

Even though The Hunger Games won’t be released in theatres until March 23, 2012, Lionsgate has already started with its sequel, Catching Fire.  They even have a release date set for it already!  The second film of Suzanne Collins‘ trilogy will be released November 22, 2013.  Set that date on your calendars, nerds!

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) will be writing the screenplay for the film adaptation.  It’s very likely that Gary Ross will also direct the Hunger Games sequel, even though there has been no official word on the matter.  Again, although it has not been stated officially, we’re expecting Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson to return for the ride.

Hit the jump for a synopsis of Catching Fire.

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Not long after the trailer for The Hunger Games was released, Lionsgate is putting the film adaptation for the book’s sequel, Catching Fire, at the top of their to-do list.

Instead of waiting for director Gary Ross to finish the post-production of the first movie and then getting started on the sequel, Lionsgate is on the prowl for new writers to get started right fuckin’ now.  Because being timely is ostensibly more important than quality.

Ross had expressed an interest in writing the films alongside the original writer of the books, Suzanne Collins, which sounds like a great idea to me and would probably be the case if Lionsgate wasn’t going on like someone’s holding a pitchfork to their asses.

Instead, the studio is looking to have Simon Beaufoy, the screenwriter for Slumdog Millionaire on the job.  Perhaps he’ll be able to work with Collins on Catching Fire.  We’ll just have to see.  And at the rate things are going, it looks like we won’t have to wait long for an answer.

Source: Bleeding Cool