While the release of “The Hunger Games” is still more than two weeks away, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy is already hard at work on the follow-up. In fact, he tells Metro, he’s just turned in the first draft of his adaptation of “Catching Fire” to novelist and series creator Suzanne Collins. That’s got to make a guy a little nervous.
“I think she’s reading it possibly right now, the first draft. Could well be today,” he says of Collins, whose own background has been helpful in the scripting process. “Because Suzanne has been a film writer and a TV writer, funnily enough she’s already done a lot of adapting for me. They’ll cut my wage if you say that.”
Beaufoy is no stranger to adaptation, with the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours” and the upcoming “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” among his credits. But taking on an installment of the hugely successful “Hunger Games” series was still daunting. “With this one, I had to be a lot more faithful also because there’s a fan base who are more than usually keen that you get it absolutely right,” he says. “‘The Hunger Games’ fan base are passionate beyond anything I’ve ever come across, and I would fear for my life [if I get it wrong]. If I do too free an adaptation of that, I shall get firebombed. So I’m being very careful of that.”
Of course, not everything from a book can make it into a movie, so not every bit of “Catching Fire” will make to the screen, which Beaufoy freely admits. But he’s cagey when it comes to details. “[Collins] just knows her audience brilliantly, and she’ll say ‘That bit you just can’t cut out because they’ll all go crazy.’ And other bits she’ll go, ‘This is fine that you’ve changed this,” Beaufoy explains. “But she really knows her readers. And because she’s been in the film world, she understands about adapting, that things have to go and things have to change.”