With director Francis Lawrence officially in place to take over for Gary Ross, Lionsgate is now focusing on getting the Hunger Games: Catching Fire script into fighting shape. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Arndt is taking a crack at the adaptation of the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling Hunger Games trilogy.
Arndt has written a pair of fairly different movies, Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, both of which were nominated for Academy Awards for writing (the former won, the latter lost to The Social Network). Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy wrote the first few drafts of Catching Fire. There’s no word as to whether Arndt will be starting from scratching or polishing the existing one.
In other Hunger Games news, actor Liam Hemsworth talked to E! Online about Ross’ departure, stating, “I’m really sad to see that Gary’s not going to be part of the second one. He did such an amazing job on the first.” Hemsworth also said that he thought they’d be filming the follow-up at the end of this year and that he’s excited to work with Lawrence when shooting does start. The actor added, “I think that there’s still so many people a part of it that want the film to be great and care about it so much that they’re not going to bring the wrong person on.”
Readers will remember that the main reason Ross bowed out was due to the shortened production schedule created by lead actress Jennifer Lawrence’s commitment to start filming Fox’s sequel to X-Men: First Class.