‘Hunger Games’ Ditches Billy Ray’s Script For One by Novelist Suzanne Collins and Director Gary Ross

The movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, is now shooting

“The Hunger Games” director Gary Ross has replaced the movie’s script with a version he wrote with the author of the novel that the film is based on.

Billy Ray, who wrote the 2008 “State of Play” and the 1997 “Volcano,” and who wrote and directed the 2007 “Breach” and the 2003 “Shattered Glass” wrote an earlier draft of the script and has been credited as the screenwriter.

But on Friday evening, as Memorial Day Weekend had begun, Lionsgate announced it’s not using that version.

In a message posted on Twitter, Lionsgate wrote, “The current draft of The Hunger Games script was not written by Billy Ray. It is a collaboration between Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins.”

Asked his thoughts on his script being replaced, Ray told TheWrap in an email, “I don’t have any.”

Suzanne Collins wrote the novels on which the “Hunger Games” franchise is based. She also has written for several children’s television series.”

The Hunger Games” is set in the dystopian future. In the story, the 12 districts of the nation of Panem send a teenage boy and a teenage girl to compete in annual Hunger Games, a nationally televised fight to the death.

In April, Collins and Ross told Entertainment Weekly that they enjoyed writing together. Ross told the magazine that he let Ray know he’d be reworking the script.

“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,” Ross told the magazine.

In addition to directing, Ross is the renowned screenwriter of the 2008 “The Tale of Despereaux,” the 2003 “Seabiscuit,” the 1993 “Dave” and the 1988 “Big.” He was nominated for the Academy Award for writing the “Seabiscuit” adaptation and for writing “Big” and “Dave.”

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson star in “The Hunger Games,” which is set for a March 23, 2012 release.