Michael Arndt in Talks to Re-Write 'Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire' (Exclusive)

Michael Arndt Oscars - P 2012
<p>Michael Arndt Oscars - P 2012</p>   |   Getty Images
The "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Toy Story 3" writer is being eyed to work on a script by Simon Beaufoy, as Francis Lawrence officially signs on to direct.

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.

PHOTOS: 'The Hunger Games' Premiere: Red Carpet Arrivals 

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.

VIDEO: 'Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson on Sequel's New Director: 'It's Gonna Be a Fun Ride'  

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.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit