4:22 pm EDT, October 1, 2012

Danny Strong hired to pen ‘Mockingjay’ films

Lionsgate has hired Game Change writer Danny Strong to pen both Mockingjay films.

Variety is reporting the news that has Strong writing the screenplays for Mockingjay – Part I, scheduled for a Nov. 21, 2014 release, and Mockingjay – Part II, which is slated to be released Nov. 20, 2015.

Strong is hot off of an Emmy win for writing the HBO miniseries Game Change, and also penned the script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Strong will replace Catching Fire scribe Simon Beaufoy.

For Strong and whoever ends up directing the films, the ever-important task of deciding where to split the book adaptation will be paramount, and with a release date of just over two years from now for Mockingjay – Part 1, it’s safe to say this decision is already well underway.

Strong beat out some pretty stiff competition for the gig, beating out Drew Goddard, co-writer and director of The Cabin in the Woods, Vanessa Taylor, a writer and co-exec producer on Game of Thrones, and Chris Terrio, screenwriter for Ben Affleck’s Argo.

Strong has become something of a hot commodity of late, having been hired to adapt the bestselling Dan Brown novel The Last Symbol for Sony, as well as a legal-drama series for CBS. In addition to his career as a screenwriter, Strong has appeared in front of the camera on such shows as Mad Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Just earlier today, Haymitch actor Woody Harrelson commented on the decision to split Mockingjay into two films, saying, “Well, I think it could work. It really depends on how the scripts come in. I hate to comment on it before I know what it’s going to be. Obviously it’s possible that you can do it but how it’s going to turn out, I don’t know. I’m hopeful.” It will certainly be interesting to see how Strong tackles this huge decision.

The next installment in the series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is set for a November 22, 2013 release date.

Lionsgate had no comment on the report.

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