Back in November, Deadline reported that Lionsgate already had a short list of writers they wanted to pen the sequel to "The Hunger Games." According to the report, Simon Beaufoy, the writer behind the Academy Award-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" script, topped the list.
Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that not only has Beaufoy signed on to write "Catching Fire," but that director Gary Ross will return as well. There had been no direct confirmation that Ross would return, and until "The Hunger Games" comes out, there probably won't be, but as things stand, Ross will likely direct.
Ross and author Suzanne Collins originally planned to reteam for the "Catching Fire" script, after having collaborated on the "Hunger Games" screenplay. Postproduction work on the first film and the looming proposed release date for the second didn't allow Ross to begin work on the sequel.
Beaufoy, whose other writing credits include "127 Hours" and "The Full Monty," will adapt Collins' book, with Ross overseeing. There are four films planned for the three-book series. The final book, "Mockingjay," will likely be split into two flicks if the producers stick to their original plan.
The first film of the series — starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth — is scheduled for release March 23. For now, "Catching Fire" is scheduled to hit theaters November 22, 2013. The stars of "The Hunger Games" are all expected to return, per sequel clauses in their contracts.