Hunger Games gets a new script – by Ross and Collins

| May 28, 2011 | 39 Comments More

My Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins Earlier this month there were reports of a leaked script – an early draft of The Hunger Games movie.  According to those that had seen a copy of the draft, there were a couple of controversial developments – mostly a move to have Gale make his way to the Capitol in an effort to help Katniss during the Hunger Games.

The book was originally adapted for the screen by Billy Ray (State of Play, Breach). However, today Lionsgate tweeted a change to the script credits saying, “The current draft of The Hunger Games script was not written by Billy Ray. It is a collaboration between Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins.”

RopeOfSilicon has pointed out in their article that this isn’t the first script for Ross, the film’s director, as he also put pen to paper for such films as Pleasantville, Big and Seabiscuit. For Collins, she’s done a little television work in the past, including the teleplay for 2001’s Santa, Baby! and more recently five episodes of the Nick Jr. television show “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” which is a bit of a 180 when you consider the graphic nature of The Hunger Games.

The most interesting news here is the fact Lionsgate says Ray’s script won’t be used at all, which means it must have undergone some serious rewriting.

Back in April, Ross told Entertainment Weekly he and Collins were reworking the script saying, “Both Suzanne and [screenwriter] Billy Ray had done wonderful work, but 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. To get inside Katniss’ skin and understand how she grows, largely through her relationship with Peeta. I needed to have fresh clay to do that. And then when the draft was done and I got in the room with Suzanne, it was a very, very spontaneous process.”

Let’s hope that this a script that sticks as closely to the book as possible – a script that Suzanne Collins and her fans are happy with.



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Comments (39)

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  1. Renee says:

    If Collins has a lot of say in how the script comes out, even if it’s not spot on with the book, I’ll have to respect it. The Hunger Games is her creation after all. How I imagine it is due mostly to how she wrote it, but also in part to my own imagination. Nothing they can write will account for what I put into the story on my own end, so as long as Collin’s end is upheld, it shouldn’t disappoint.

  2. filippa says:

    Thank you, thank you so very much. And for Susanne to point out that it´s Peeta that makes Katniss grow,

  3. Anonymous says:

    I give props to Ross for actually letting Suzanne Collins have a part in the script. This means the movie will be as thrilling as the book, and everyone who said ‘this will be a terrible movie’ will change there mind.

  4. christalyn says:

    THANK YOU LORD. I’ll be okay (although not very happy about it) if Madge is still out of the picture, but this gives me hope that the whole Gale sneaking into the capitol will be debunked! HUZZAH!

  5. starsky says:

    OH YES. I don’t want the Gales sneaking thing at all. And now I hope, hope, hope, that Suzanne Collins would make the script almost like the book. I accept if Madge isn’t in the movie.
    (it’s so annoying to read the text, because google-translate isn’t so helpful. Finnish language is just too hard.)

  6. Ly says:

    Well put, Renee. I am very encouraged by this development 😀

  7. Sarren16 says:

    As long as Suzanne’s input was put into the script- I’m thinking things will end up ok, right?

  8. ravage007 says:

    i really really really wood like it to follow the book as much as possible cos the book was a masterpiece as it was & can some 1 tell me if there is going to 3 movie like the books & i wood not mine if the movie was 4h long then just 2h

  9. GoPeeta says:

    If Suzanne has anything to do with the script, the movie will be great.

  10. Rose says:

    This gives me so much more faith in the movie, I decided I will see it now, thank you Lord for this, it makes my day! And I just woke up haha, I can’t wait to see it now, despite the terrible choice for Gale. But I really enjoy the fact that Suzanne is keeping it as close to the book as possible, maybe Madge will be written in?!?! ANd I had a dream last night about Josh Hutcherson with blonde hair and I’m loving it.

  11. Rose says:

    Renee, I agree that your statement was beautifully well put, the Hunger Games is her creation, not ours, she was just kind enough to share it with us.

  12. Eliza says:

    I want Madge……

  13. Marryanna says:

    good maybe Madge will get written back in

  14. hsps1997 says:

    Does this mean that the release datw will be pushed back

  15. hsps1997 says:

    I mean date sorry

  16. Kristi says:


    I read the Billy Ray draft of the script (DO NOT ASK ME FOR IT. I DID NOT SAVE IT SO I CAN NOT GIVE IT TO YOU AND IT HAS BEEN DELETED). And I have to say that I’m torn about this. I’m glad the Gale subplot is not going to be in place because it seemed completely pointless. It was more of a Gale fan-girl moment. I also felt like Katniss was very weak in that script. She was too much of the victim in Billy Ray’s script. She is not the kind of person that will run to her room and cry “I want to go home!” (Yes, she literally did say that in the script). Also, Peeta was a little to possesive and stalkerish, a little to Edward Cullen-ish for my taste. His feelings for her felt less sincere and more obsessive. The fact that he saved her from starvation was not even present and was left with a scenario that is completely downplayed. I felt that whole situation was a very vital part of Katniss’ character and feelings since she feels that she owes Peeta something.
    HOWEVER, what I absolutely LOVED about the script was how the capitol’s brutality was not held back. All the violence and the horror of the games was present and appropriately horrid. The script went to Haymitch watching Katniss in the games and his efforts to help her. These parts I absolutely LOVED.
    So I hope that they keep the horror of the script that was in the first draft, but make sure the characters do not lose their integrity (Katniss, especially).

    P.S. I’m 100% sure that Madge is not going to be in the movie. Personally, I don’t mind because her role can be easily replaced. Yes, she has importance, but I think it’s better for Prim to give Katniss the pin. It adds even more meaning to it.


    • MyHungerGames says:

      Hi Kristi – Thanks for providing that information. It’s good news for Hunger Games fans that Suzanne Collins ended up working so closely on the script – I’m sure she’ll make sure Katniss is NOT watered down. Interesting how it might have been though.

  17. Renee says:

    I don’t feel like Madge can be adequately replaced with some other back story. First, Madge was Katniss’ only female friend, even if Katniss didn’t really know it until later. She’s also the closest thing to the Capitol in District 12… She’s in a completely different social and economic level than Katniss and still befriends her and gives her a token to wear, a token that happens to become the symbol of the revolution. I feel like Madge, along with Cinna and Portia, is the soft side of the Capitol, power, and money in the book. She’s also starkly juxtaposed with Katniss and Gale, who have both had to put their names in extra times, while Madge is all dressed up and fairly protected by her status.

    Basically, even if we only see her once or twice (kind of like the book anyways) she’s important. Not so much because of who she is but what she stands for.

  18. Kristi says:

    Myhungergames- It was absolutely no problem! I honestly felt like venting and talking about it because all of my opinions were kind of stuck inside me. lol! And yes, I trust Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross, Suzanne created the character and Gary seems to understand her perfectly.

    Renee- You have some very valid points! However, from a point of view of a filmmaker, she is disposable compared to the rest of the story. In retrospect, her addition to the movie would just slow it down, with them having to introduce a character that appears rarely. I love Madge’s role in the books, but I would understand if she is cut. I also love that, in the script, (SPOILER) Prim gives Katniss the pin, who then she gives it to Rue after she dies. It further solidifies the Prim/Rue connection. I hope they keep that (END SPOILER).

  19. pedro says:

    gary ross is collaborating with the script? WHAT COULD GO WRONG?!??

  20. pedro says:

    haha, rose, i love your enthusiasm [dream about josh with blonde hair]

  21. Ryan says:

    Kristi- I know you said not to ask about the script, but I have just been wondering one thing: how did they do Katniss’s internal dialogue? Throughout the whole book, the majority of the talking is done inside her head, whether she is trying to figure someone out or what to do or what to think. Did they just have Jennifer Lawrence doing voice over the whole time? Id really really love to know.

  22. Kristi says:

    Ryan- Oh no, I don’t mind anyone asking about the script. I meant don’t ask me FOR it. I don’t blame you for being curious. I would be, too!
    About Katniss’ “inner monologue” in the script.. there really wasnt any. No voice overs or anything. That aspect of it didn’t really help. You kind of saw Katniss through what she physically said, and through her actions and reactions. She did have a little conversation with Peeta where has a short little rant about how she’s feeling. This is pretty much where the audience who hasn’t read the books finally found out why she has been so reluctant to go along with the capitol (if they weren’t smart enough to connect the dots already). I wouldn’t have minded the lack of inner monologues if Katniss still remained as strong as she was in the book. The whole thing where she runs to her room crying and saying “I want to go home” made her selfish. Katniss is more concerned for her family and the people she loves more than herself. Also, after the part where Peeta confesses his love and she pushes him, she does not apologize. Her and Gale were a little too flirty when they’re hunting when they’re never like that in the first book. Overall, in Billy Ray’s script, she came out as a victimized girl that needs pity and help from everyone. Which is partly true (the victimized bit).. but Katniss sure as hell doesn’t ACT like one.
    Sorry, there’s my rant.. lol
    However, remember that the script I have read was one of the first drafts revised by Billy Ray. Since they are not going to use that script, and Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins are collaborating on the writing, I trust that they will keep Katniss’ character integrity.

    I hope that answers your question! I got a bit off topic there! >.<

  23. Oansun says:

    @Kristi can you give some specifics on what the Gale subplot was? All I’m seeing is he goes to the Capitol. And since no site is talking about it, you seem to be the only one in position to answer. Does the script set up sequels, or stick to a vague “just in case” scenario concerning box office prospects? Is the relationship between Cinnna and Katnis like a brother-sister relationship? When Wes Bentley was cast as Seneca I think we all figured we would see a “behind the scenes” during the games, how often is the cutaway from the action? One of the things I like best about the novel is the extreme first person narrative, and feeling the presence of Haymitch without him being there. The sense of despair and desperation from being left to her own devices is frightening. How is this portrayed in the draft you’ve read? Does the cutting distract from the eponymous games? How represented are the other Tributes? Is it too much too soon and characters get lost? Do the deaths and situations correlate with the novel? How long are they in the Capitol? Maybe describe at least one specific instance with Haymitch getting them sponsors or something similar? Like I said, you are the only person that claims to have read so I would like as much info as possible. Of course, we know the script is being re written and all this may not stand, but this will give 2 things:. perspective on the filmmaking process, and an idea of where they are going for the newest draft. Seeing how movies get where the become is sometimes the most fun of the process. Seeing the evolution of E.T., for example, is an amazing education in Hollywood production. Thank you for future input.

  24. Ryan says:

    Kristi- Yea thanks so much! That’s kinda weird though, bc Katniss is constantly debating and calculating stuff in her mind, you know? Hopefully they can pull it off with her facial expressions and actions. And I definitely think Billy Ray’s script would be terrible for the movie, and I’m thrilled that they are not using that one for the real thing! Just a side note, when are we gonna see Peeta with blonde hair in released set pics??

  25. Kristi says:


    Gale subplot- Shortly after Katniss and Peeta leave for the capitol, Prim and Gale find Peeta’s paintings of Katniss in the trash outside his house. Apparently, his mother was so distraught that she threw away his paintings (apparently Peeta’s mother isn’t a b*tch in this version). Prim asks Gale to take the paintings to Katniss so that she trusts Peeta during the games. He sneaks into a coal train and somehow gets himself into the capitol building that Katniss is staying in with the help of the avox girl. He gives the paintings to Katniss while she’s in her room, tells her to trust Peeta, and then leaves her. He spends the rest of the time staying with the avox girl in the avox headquarters and watches Katniss in the games from there. After she gets hit by the fireballs in the games and suffers extreme burns, Gale goes to Haymitch and demands him to give her medicine. Haymitch tells him that he can’t give her medicine without Seneca’s approval, and Seneca has been denying his requests to give her the medicine. The whole Seneca’s-refusal-to-give-Katniss-medicine-situation shows another reason why the careers have been so successful in the games. Seneca favors them. Gale then goes into a monologue about how Katniss is strong and talks to Haymitch about how they met. In this version, Gale and Katniss decided to hunt together right after each of their parent’s death in the mines, rather than running into each other in the woods and then finding trust in each other later (slightly different from the original). Haymitch then gets the motivation to face Seneca again, and finally convinces him to let him send Katniss burn medicine. Gale then goes back to the avox headquarters and almost gets caught when peacemakers find out that there’s a stowaway hiding in there. He almost gets caught, but a little avox girl leads him to a secret passageway just in time for him to escape. He then escapes to a coal train heading towards District 12 with the help of Haymitch, who was acting drunk so that people would not be suspiscious of him. Gales whole reason for being there seemed completely pointless to me because Katniss STILL does not fully trust Peeta in the games until he saves her from the Careers. It also made her seem dumb to not know that Peeta was not faking the romance.

    Cinna/Katniss- It’s pretty much the same in the book. Nothing really has changed from what I remember.

    Cutaway from the games to behind the scenes action- These happened pretty often. I had a feeling that if they had used this script, they would have cut out some of these scenes because a few were a little too short. You see more of Haymitch’s struggle with the rest of mentors in the games. None of them take him seriously and they see him as a worthless drunk that is just the butt of all of their jokes. There is still that sense of despair in the story because as you’re watching Katniss suffer from burns and other injuries, you’re watching the only person that can help her struggling to get the supplies needed. In my opinion, the cutting did not distract from the games at all, it sort of emphasized the cruelty of the gamemakers to a farther extent. There were a few short scenes with Seneca feeling the need to make the game more exciting, and then sending out fireballs, mutts, and other things to spice it up. There was a good sense that there was no mercy from them.

    The other tributes- It was still pretty much how the book was. The tributes you needed to know about were distinct and memorable, and the ones you didn’t need to know about were just vague shadows. You got to see a tiny bit more of Foxface, Cato, Clove, Glimmer, and Rue than you do in the books. During the scoring session, there is a montage where you see a little tidbit of what each of them do. Also, during the interview with Caesar, you’re able to see more of them. I honestly do not remember what each of them do specifically in these parts. The only bits that I remember is that they show Rue just making a fire in the montage for the scoring session, and they had Foxfacxce steal Caesars watch without his knowledge to show the audience watching the interview just how sneaky she is. It did not feel like too much to soon for me.

    Deaths- The only death that I remember being different is Thresh’s. After Thresh gives Katniss the mockingjay pin that he finds with Rue’s body, he turns around and Cato comes out of nowhere and stabs him while Katniss is there. His death came much more quickly than it did in the book. They also had one unnamed tribute step off the plate and explode before the countdown ended in the beginning of the games. They did not have Clove on top of Katniss trying to cut her mouth (not a death, but I missed that part). Besides that, they have everything the same. Thresh still crushes Clove’s skull with a rock, Rue dies from a Spear, the tribute who made the bomb trap for the careers still gets his neck broken by Cato, Glimmer still dies from tracker jacker stings, and so on. The violence was not held back.

    How long are they in the capitol- Same amount as in the book. I remember looking at the script page number and that it took about a third of the script. Although, for some reason I can not explain, it felt rushed. All of the new experiences with the capitol are there except for the actual showing of the training sessions. They talk alot about what to do when in the training room, but I do not remember the script actually showing them in training. They do not have Peeta defending Katniss at the dinner table, and then having the avox girl conversation on the rooftop. In fact, Katniss apparently finds out about the rooftop first and then rants to Peeta about how messed up the games were when he finds her up there. In the part where Peeta confesses his love in front of everyone, the entire thing was not planned. Peeta’s confession surprised Haymitch as it did Katniss. It did not seem like a strategic move on Peeta’s part, but a slip-up that happens on live tv that had a possibly positive consequence. There wasn’t a part where Haymitch tells Katniss that Peeta refuses to do anymore training or preparation with her. In fact, the two barely spoke at all before the games. This was another area where the script completely failed in.

    I think I already answered the Haymitch/sponsor question in my answer for Gale’s subplot. I hope this has answered your questions! I’s sorry for the absolutely horrible writing. I got a little lazy after a while! >.<


    • MyHungerGames says:

      wow.. that was some effort Kristi.

      Just a reminder to everyone… the script Kristi has outlined was the draft written by Billy Ray which has since been re-written by Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross. There is no reason to believe that the final script is like this at all. It’s interesting to see what was suggested and I guess to see WHY Suzanne Collins and Ross decided to take it back over and write it themselves.

  26. Katniss says:

    So glad Suzanne Collins took care of that script!

  27. Kayla says:

    omfg. so happy that suzannes taking care of the script. i would cry if she didnt.. then the movies/books would be ruined :’/

  28. Kristi says:

    @myhungergames- ROFL.. I know! I honestly didn’t realize how much I typed out until I submitted it. Hope that was helphful! ^.^

    Sorry for the many long comments!

    • MyHungerGames says:

      Dont’ be sorry at all @Kristi – I really enjoyed reading it and appreciate you taking the time to write it out.

  29. Oansun says:

    Fascinating stuff detailed. Yes, it answered my questions completely. I thought Capitol time would get cut a bit, and this could be the area they are looking to beef up. I will be interested to see how much credit Mr. Ray gets for his contribution. The writers guild credit system is INSANELY arbitrary in adaptations. I think Gale will have his part revised, as well a Peera as t sounds that both parts are woefully underdeveloped at this stage. Though if your deft was dated August 2010, then this version could be FAR from the final script Billy Ray turned in. I require zero follow up a you have done an Extraordinary job explaining the draft you read. I commend you on such. No news site has attempted to so what you did.
    After reading what you have, it looks like Ross will be working on character subplots and structure of the movie will be this. Seems pretty tight as a story, just need more involvement.

  30. team peeta says:

    from what i am reading this does not sound any thing from the book wich sucks! the whole gale thing going to the capital is not just only a waste of time but who is going to feed katniss and gales family?! that was the whole point!!! ggggrrrrrrrr!!! i hope they change that. please change that. and the one thing i loved about the book is katniss was so strong nothing like the twilite series. so they better make her as strong as she was in the book.

  31. pedro says:

    HI KAYLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! havent heard from you in a while.

  32. Petro says:

    Kristi- I’m kinda confused as to how you got the script. I mean, are you related to someone who worked on it, or was it leaked for a while and nobody knew about it, or what? It’s not that I don’t believe you read it, it’s just I’m curious as to how someone can do that.

  33. Kristi says:

    I was VERY lucky… lol
    I was un tumblr looking up the Hunger Games tags. Someone claimed that they had the script, but has to take it down because Lionsgate emailed them and told them to. I checked the link on that post, and it was still working. So then I decided to open the file without saving, read the whole thing in one sitting, and then delete it from my computer.

    I was a little skeptical about it at first, but then as I kept reading it, it seemed too detailed for it to be fan-made. Later on, I checked websites and the information about the leaked script corrolated with the supposed leaked script I read. So I’m pretty sure it’s the real first draft of Billy Ray’s script. There were too many details and a large amount of strategic artistic choices and details for it not to be official.

    However, I have no idea how the person I loaded the script from had gotten it. I was actually wondering the same thing, too.. o.O

    But yup… it seems legit. I also know it’s not the final draft of the script because the copy I read had Billy Ray listed (I do not remember if it was under editor or author, though…)

  34. Kristi says:

    ^ I apologize for mispellings and grammar errors… I’m horrible at typing >.<

  35. PEETA! says:

    Stay true to your masterpiece suzanne!

  36. Team Finnick Odair says:

    kristi- you are so lucky to read the script

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