While we reported back in November that Lionsgate was eyeing Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) to pen the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, the news has now been confirmed. Moreover, The Wrap reports that Beaufoy is already hard at work on adapting the second book in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy. Director Gary Ross, who is busy finishing up post-production on The Hunger Games, is also confirmed to return for the second go-around of teenager murdering.
Ross and Collins previously wrote the script for The Hunger Games (with some help from Billy Ray) but since Ross is busy finishing up the first film, Lionsgate has gotten a jump on the scripting process in order to line up Catching Fire for a late 2012 or so shoot. Catching Fire is my favorite of the three books, and it’s also the most cinematic. I’m incredibly excited to see how Ross and Beaufoy handle the big set pieces of the story, as it’s packed with some potentially fantastic visuals. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of Catching Fire (which, obviously, contains spoilers for The Hunger Games). The Hunger Games opens March 23rd and Catching Fire is set for a November 22nd, 2013 release.
Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen “tributes” from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment. [Amazon]