‘Hunger Games’ Screenwriter Rejects Gig Writing Candidate Speech, ‘Cannot in Good Conscience’ Help a Republican

Billy Ray, who was Oscar-nominated for “Captain Phillips,” told TheWrap he would write for the former Congressman, if it’s “an honest kind of civil discourse”

Billy Ray
Billy Ray (Getty Images)

Sorry, Republican candidates, the odds that Oscar-nominated “Hunger Games” screenwriter Billy Ray will write you a speech are not in your favor.

Ray on Thursday tweeted a rejection letter he wrote to an unnamed politician, with the note, “Too much? Or fair?,” of the missive, which referred to former President Trump as “a venal, vile, despicable criminal whose only saving grace was his sheer ineptness.” Ray added that he considers the party to be “completely hijacked by a lunatic fringe,” making them “dangerous to democracy.”

The “Captain Phillips” scribe noted that he only does his pro-bono speechwriting to stop Republicans. “If you are part of this effort, I cannot in good conscience help you.”

Ray, who said he’s written for “roughly 80 sitting Members of the House and Senate, all Dems,” said he would be willing to write an unspecified “second speech” for the former Congressman, “if you’re amenable.” He concluded his letter with, “My goal is now, and always will be, the furtherance of democracy in America.”

He told TheWrap of the other speech: “It was far less partisan. But it drew a false equivalency between the extremists on the Right and the extremists on the Left, which is nonsense. THEIR lunatic fringe wants to replace Democracy with Authoritarianism. OUR lunatic fringe just wants everyone to go to college for free. Would have loved a chance, actually, to communicate that to him.”

Ray also told TheWrap, “I’ll help ANYONE who wants to engage in an honest kind of civil discourse.” He added that he won’t name the politician or how he was first contacted by him. The politician, he said, has not yet responded to his letter.

Ray’s other screenwriting credits include “State of Play,” “Flightplan,” the true 2007 spy thriller “Breach,” and the Clint Eastwood film “Richard Jewell,” which was also based on a true story.