May 04, 2012 5:33pm PT by Borys Kit
Michael Arndt in Talks to Re-Write 'Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire' (Exclusive)
Catching Fire is catching a new writer.
Michael Arndt, 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 to The Hunger Games, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Francis Lawrence is officially on board to direct the movie, stepping into the chair vacated by Gary Ross, who helmed the $600 million-grossing first installment in the franchise.
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. That tight schedule was one reason Ross declined to take on the project.
Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) wrote the initial drafts of the script, based on the best-selling Suzanne Collins novel.
Arndt, repped by Verve, also worked on Order of the Seven, Disney’s upcoming internationally themed action movie.