Catching Fire is catching a new writer.
Michael Arndt, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine 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 shoes vacated by Gary Ross, who helmed the $600 million-grossing first installment in the franchise.
The sequel is barreling towards 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 why Ross declined to take on the project.)
Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) wrote the initial drafts of the script, based on the Suzanne Collins best-selling novel.
Arndt, repped by Verve, also worked on Order of the Seven, Disney’s upcoming internationally-themed action movie.