Just hours after completing my script review for The Hunger Games, I receive the news that Lionsgate has chosen not to use Billy Ray‘s draft of the script. Lionsgate recently posted this tweet on the matter: “The current draft of The Hunger Games script was not written by Billy Ray. It is a collaboration between Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins.”
When the first draft of the script had leaked, apparently some fans were outraged at the changes that Ray had made to the story, but Ross also had this to say, “I told Billy when I began — and he’s a director as well and a very good one — that I would have to put this into my own voice. And I wanted to get back as close as I could to the essence of the book and the emotional arc.”
When asked for his thoughts on his script being replaced, Ray simply said “I don’t have any,” though we can imagine that it must be rather frustrating to work on a script for a long time only to have it replaced. But that’s just the way these things go sometimes.
Ray has written some projects that have been well-received by the critics in the past such as State of Play and Breach while Ross has four Academy Award nominations under his belt, including three for writing Big, Dave, and Seabiscuit.
The first draft by Collins and Ray was a great read, so my only hope for the new collaboration is that they don’t mess up how good it was already. However, with Ross’s great experience, I highly doubt that will happen.
The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future and tells the story of 24 young people who are forced to participate in a fight to the death. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, and Woody Harrelson.
The film is set for release on March 23, 2012.