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“The Hunger Games” sequel eyes a new screenwriter, director Gary Ross will return

“The Hunger Games” sequel eyes a new screenwriter, director Gary Ross will return (photo)

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Lionsgate doesn’t want to make “The Hunger Games” fans wait overly long while they adapt the best-selling novels for the big screen. It’s the reason they carved out a release date — November 22, 2013 — for the second installment of the series, “Catching Fire,” well before the first glimpse of footage ever saw the light of day. Thanks to the positive response to the recently-released theatrical trailer, it looks like Lionsgate is continuing to fast-track the project to be ready for its release in two years.

Director Gary Ross co-wrote “The Hunger Games” script with “State of Play” scribe Billy Ray. According to Deadline his intention was to write the outline of the “Catching Fire” script now and then stick close to the source material and co-write the actual screenplay with the novels’ writer, Suzanne Collins. But Ross is apparently knee-deep in post-production right now and doesn’t have the time to pen the script that he had planned on. So now Lionsgate is courting “Slumdog Millionaire” writer Simon Beaufoy to write the script instead.

There’s no word on whether or not Ross will attempt to help Beaufoy write the script, or if he’ll recommend that Beaufoy and Collins write it together. Either way, Ross has had a big hand in this production from the start and will likely at least take several passes at the screenplay to shape it to his liking. “Catching Fire” will be a tricky film to adapt because it has two very different acts with extremely different tones.

There’s also no guarantee that the end of the “Catching Fire” film will correlate with the end of the novel. Lionsgate has planned on making four films out of the three novels, and there isn’t exactly enough source material to divide the third book, “Mockingjay,” into two films.

Deadline also reports that Ross definitely plans on coming back to direct “Catching Fire.” Hopefully that means he’s on board for the whole series, which will be good for the films’ tonality. Other franchises like “Harry Potter” and “The Twilight Saga” have jumped around between directors, and it could be argued that they suffered for it. At least those series had novels with different tones, while “The Hunger Games” is pretty dark and bleak the entire way through.

“The Hunger Games” tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from the poor District 12 section of the futuristic country Panem who volunteers herself into the annual Hunger Games to take the place of her sister. In the Hunger Games, she must fight to the death against 23 of her peers on national television to win fame and fortune to her District. But Katniss only thinks about her survival and returning to her family, and that’s what gives her the edge. “The Hunger Games” hits theaters on March 23, 2012.

Do you think Simon Beaufoy will be a good person to adapt “Catching Fire”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.