Arndt You Glad We’re Getting Another Screenwriter?

Yesterday, we heard news that Michael Arndt is in talks to re-write initial drafts of the Catching Fire screenplay written by Simon Beaufoy who won an Oscar for writing Slumdog Millionaire (who, for the record, we like). Nothing is official yet, but let’s pretend it is.

Weirdly enough, the idea of Lionsgate tapping another Oscar-winning screenwriter to do rewrites didn’t really occur to any of us. But it should have! Screenplays typically go through several drafts, and there’s a major time-crunch to get everything ready for Catching Fire to start filming in the late summer/early fall.

Also Francis Lawrence, unlike Gary Ross, isn’t a screenwriter, so he wouldn’t be the one to do rewrites the way Gary did with Suzanne Collins on Billy Ray’s initial draft of the adaptation of The Hunger Games. That’s not to say that had Gary Ross stayed on as director they wouldn’t have gotten another screenwriter – we don’t know that for sure. But with a movie as big as Catching Fire is sure to be, it’s understandable why Lionsgate wouldn’t want just one screenwriter tackling this project.

Michael Arndt won an Oscar for writing Little Miss Sunshine, and he also penned the screenplay for Toy Story 3. That’s… about it, as far as writing experience is concerned (he was Matthew Broderick’s assistant, though – that’s pretty cool). What this says to us is that Arndt might have been tapped for his experience writing for his young voice and for the sense of humor in his writing. There’s a bit more wisecracking in Catching Fire than in The Hunger Games, what with the additions of Johanna and Finnick bringing in some more dark humor, which was a huge part of the appeal of Little Miss Sunshine.

While we as a fandom are pretty wary of new names being brought on to work on the movies, this addition might help. We’re already worried there won’t be enough time to do get Catching Fire ready, so anyone who can come in and help would be great. And don’t forget, Suzanne Collins is still involved. She’s read Simon Beaufoy’s initial drafts and has no doubt given feedback. Michael Arndt, if he does officially sign on to do rewrites, will of course be under Suzanne’s guidance as well, so don’t fret!

Off to dig up my copy of Little Miss Sunshine
Twiffidy 

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6 comments

  1. I have a straight up writer-boner for Arndt. He knows his storytelling structure backwards (literally) and forwards. I might be biased considering both his screenplays are some of my favorite movies of all time, but I have complete faith in this man. He is very considerate and thoughtful in his work and gives everything 100%. If you have the time this is an excellent Q & A he did in San Fran awhile ago after Little MIss Sunshine came out that is totally worth a watch: http://fora.tv/fora/showthread.php?t=687

  2. This makes complete sense to me. Arndt wrote the script to Toy Story 3 and as he tells it in this Washington Post article, it is a very similar situation: a beloved franchise, well developed characters already in place, a key part of the story still to be told — and in a way that’s faithful to the narrative arc of the first two movies.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/comic-riffs/2010/06/the_riffs_interview_toy_story_3_writer_michael_ar.html

    The link below is to a fascinating talk by Arndt about Little Miss Sunshine and the whole script writing/filming process. Towards the end of the talk he expresses his disdain for the winner-takes-all culture of reality TV, the idea that we can divide the world into winners and losers and that there is no real place for the ‘losers’. He sounds like he’s very much tuned in to Hunger Games’ emotional and ethical perspective.

    http://fora.tv/2007/02/15/Little_Miss_Sunshine_Shooting_Script

  3. Screenwench at Tumblr shares some interesting insights from Michael Arndt about structure and screenplays from a talk he gave on Star Wars:

    “During the fall, I went to a seminar by Michael Arndt (screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine) and he talked about the last few minutes of Star Wars and why/how it was so satisfying. Here are the beats he discussed:

    Set up the ending in advance: there’s the outer goal, the inner goal and the philosophical goal. There must be a kamikaze moment of commitment. In Star Wars, all of these get resolved in 2 pages.”

    One of the things that bothers me about Catching Fire as a book is that there are so many sub-plots that the essential structure is easily obscured. I think Arndt may be just the person to clean up the script so that the three themes shine through: Katniss’s inner journey from survivalism to unselfish love, the outer story of the revolution, and the philosophical theme of the power of sacrificial love. If he can get to that core I will be happy

  4. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
    jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Many
    thanks

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