EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is getting serious about the second installment of The Hunger Games. The mini-major is courting Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy to write Catching Fire, the second installment of the three book series that tracks the life and death adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). I’m told that Gary Ross, who directed The Hunger Games, is coming back for the sequel. He originally intended to write the outline for the second film and script it with author Suzanne Collins (they teamed to do a lot of writing on the first film), but the post production schedule on The Hunger Games has made that difficult. The film opens March 23. There is no start date on the sequel, but it is high priority. Ross and producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik then focused on Beaufoy. Negotiations haven’t begun yet, but Lionsgate is pushing hard for Beaufoy. Aside from Slumdog Millionaire, Beaufoy also scripted 127 Hours, The Full Monty and most recently adapted Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. There is extra heat on the series after Lionsgate released the well received first trailer. Here is that trailer again:
Jewish Group Protests UN Screening Of ‘Miral’ As Julian Schnabel, Harvey Weinstein Say Film Not Anti-Israel
Miral director Julian Schnabel was able to get an R rating changed to PG-13 after he and producer Jon Kilik recut it to downplay the implication of a molestation. Now, Miral faces a new obstacle as Schnabel prepares to show the film Monday at United Nations headquarters. The American Jewish Committee on Sunday urged the president of the United Nations General Assembly to reconsider his decision to sponsor a screening of the film for diplomats before Miral is put in limited theatrical release starting March 25.
The AJC letter prompted a quick response by Schnabel, the film’s distributor Harvey Weinstein, Kilik and Rula Jebreal. Latter wrote the script based on a novel she wrote, based on her experiences as an orphaned Palestinian girl who grows up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict. The film stars Frieda Pinto, Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave.
In a letter sent to UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss, AJC executive director David Harris called the film “a blatantly one-sided event…the film has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light.” The entire letter appears at the bottom of this post.