"The Hunger Games" will not arrive in U.S. theaters until March 23, 2012, but Lionsgate Films is already prepping for the sequel. Deadline has broken the news that the studio is eyeing Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who wrote "Slumdog Millionaire", to pen the script for "Catching Fire".
Beaufoy reportedly becomes the top pick of director Gary Ross and producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. Though no formal talks have been made with the screenwriter, it is reported that Lionsgate is "pushing hard for Beaufoy".
According to the report, Ross will return as the helmer for "Catching Fire". It is said that Ross actually wanted to pen the outline for the sequel together with authoress Suzanne Collins. However, the tight schedule for the post-production of "Hunger Games" has hindered him from accomplishing the plan.
In "Catching Fire", Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are getting punished for their defiance. They will be forced to compete in a special 75th staging of the Hunger Games, where they must compete against past winners.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has released some new stills to promote "The Hunger Games". One of them gives a look at Elizabeth Banks' Effie Trinket in her trademark Gothic costume and pale make-up standing with Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen. The other one sees Katniss sitting with her best friend Liam Hemsworth's Gale Hawthorne.
"The Hunger Games" centers on Katniss who replaces her little sister in a fight-to-the death live televised event. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for her, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.
The first film also stars Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Malcomson and Donald Sutherland among others.