David Slade, Sam Mendes, Gary Ross to Helm 'Hunger Games'?
With the end of both Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga in the not-too-distant future, Lionsgate is already looking to hit audiences with the next big franchise based off a series of young adult books. An adaptation of the Suzanne Collins' young adult novel The Hunger Games is already in the works and Deadline reports that there are three contenders to helm the first of a hopeful new franchise from the novels. David Slade (Twilight: Eclipse), Gary Ross (Pleasantville) and Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) are the favorites to direct a story that has apparently captivated both teens and adults alike and has all of Hollywood buzzing.
If you're unfamiliar with Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, here's a taste of the story from the back of the book (which a younger relative of mine happens to currently be reading):
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Sounds pretty dark for a young adult novel, but that's certainly not a discredit to the story itself. Following The Hunger Games are two more books in the trilogy: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. This potential series seems like yet another great role for the maturing child actresses like Chloe Moretz and Abigail Breslin to segue into their presumed career as grown-up actors or a phenomenal opportunity for an unknown young actress to step up to the plate and make a name for themselves. The script will certainly be loyal to the book since it was written by Collins herself with a re-write from Billy Ray (State of Play, Breach).
Apparently the script for the adaptation is being kept under tight wraps, and the choice of director is being watched by a lot of people in the industry. Higher-ups are paying close attention to see how much money Lionsgate intends to throw at the project while the directing gig seems to be the most interesting part. Ross seems to be the most unqualified for the job having only directed Seabiscuit and Pleasantville (a personal favorite) while Slade (Hard Candy) and Mendes (Road to Perdition) have each dabbled in dark material before. In addition, if this job goes to Slade, that could take him out of the running for Wolverine 2 and our dreams of a Darren Aronofsky directed comic book film could come true. The Hunger Games is certainly a project to keep our eyes on, so we'll keep you posted as this develops and a decision for a director is made.