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David Slade, Sam Mendes, Gary Ross to Helm 'Hunger Games'?

by
September 3, 2010
Source: Deadline

David Slade, Sam Mendes, Gary Ross - 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.

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  • Shannon
    These books are incredible & have the potential, under ANY of these three directors, to be very good. I'm pushing for David Slade. "30 Days of Night" is absolutely visually stunning, & he showed with "Eclipse" that he can take hardcore cheeseball situations & make them somewhat bearable. I'm be thrilled to see what he could do with Katniss in "The Hunger Games."
  • movie mike
    Out of these three, Slade wins no contest. However, my personal pick for this is Kathryn Bigelow. She would perfectly capture the grittyness, and the brutality of the action. Also, the books are from a females prospective and she would only add to that.
  • beavis
    #1 - a twilight movie bearable?.........hmmmmmmmm - that's a very subjective statement. as far as "hunger games" - i'm not familiar witht the books, so i'll certainly give this a chance.........but, on the surface, it sounds like it'll be something for the teeny boppers.
  • FancyMonocle
    Hunger Games sounds like a rip off of Battle Royale.
  • GLupe
    I'd be interested if it wasnt David Slade. the lead should go to Saoirse Ronan or an unknown.
  • Katie
    I'm pulling for Sam Mendes. He's done darker things and handles emotional situations and character depth well. Plus, David Slade was involved with the Twilight Saga after mocking it. Don't care if it was a "publicity" stunt, it still seems fishy to me.
  • Shannon
    #3 Eclipse is the most bearable of the three films out so far, I'll put it that way. He made it bearable considering the content. Definitely not a teeny bopper book, though... I'm with #3. Saoirse Ronan would be an incredible Katniss (but her last book-to-movie "City of Ember" was horrible disappointing).
  • Bianca
    Get CHLOE MORETZ please, she's the only one I can picture be the last one standing in a battle royale kill-or-to-be-killed situation while providing some great angst & drama of Katniss personal live. She already proven excel in both action & drama roles, while most other young actresses only good in one of them.
  • GLupe
    @Bianca...they're not going to cast a 13 year old to play Katniss.
  • Greg
    Okay, okay, as a /huge/ fan of the series I gotta say, Chloe is too young. Katniss is 16, not twelve. Chloe could do her sister pretty easily, but I don't want chloe (or abigail) to be Katniss because... they're too young and inexperienced. I'd rather an unknown come in and do this. And this is coming from a /huge/ fan of chloe. I just... it doesn't agree with me.
  • Greg
    @GLupe And I think that's the best choice.
  • Cracky
    Looks like I'll be reading these books. Seriously though... I'm not too big on female heroines, especially teen ones. But I will say that this sounds pretty neat. Still though... I need convincing. Also: Mendes, hands down. I'm kind of a sexist at times, I'll admit.
  • Bianca
    @GLupe & Greg: She'll be at least 14 or even more when they start filming, & in book 1 Katniss was small for her age because she was malnourished. So it's possible. And my friend who has brother in Lionsgate, said that Chloe is in front-runner shortlist for Katniss.
  • GLupe
    Yea....and my cousin's priest's wife's housemaid said you're full of crap so.............
  • Bianca
    @GLupe: Please don't be sarcastic. I just want to share some info, for ones who interested in this project. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but maybe other people wants to read it. I wrote my words politely too, no need to be angry.
  • nelson
  • Bianca
    Besides, while my comment at @8 may be my opinion, but @13 are all facts.
  • GLupe
    @nelson.....she isn't lying? She just... out of the blue... said that.... she had a friend....who has a brother...who works at Lionsgate.... to try to support her argument after she made it. look at that picture...she doesnt look a day older than 13. And BTW...that's all speculation.
  • Meredith
    GLupe, she tell the truth. Really. The movie will be shot estimately 2011 early-middle, so Chloe M more than 14 yrs old that time. She also right katniss malnourished and small at least in first book. As for the shortlisted list, many news confirmed it. And even IF I dont know she tell the truth or not, its rude to call her lying, especially about her friends or family. She just want to share. I appreciated it. Bianca, thanks for the info. I appreciate it. Hope you can share some more if there new scoop!
  • Fransisco
    @G Lupe Your posts were too harsh. There certainly nothing wrong with @Bianca posts, she's polite, she didn't even argue, just explaining things and her reasons why she pick an actress, with some fact/news, but you reply with words like "my cousin's priest's wife's housemaid said you're full of crap." She may/may not really has connection with Lionsgate, but it not right to directly accuse her a liar throwing words like that. You can have your own pick/choice but keep it friendly, like other people here.
  • Greg
    @Bianca, Okay, I do see your point, but I still just don't think of her as the person to play Katniss, as a fan of the series, because of some of the later stuff, and if they did that, they'd have to cast like an eight year-old for probably /the/ best supporting role, because Chloe would be younger. So, while I do think that Chloe /could/ do it, I wouldn't be the biggest fan of it. But that wouldn't stop me from seeing it, because I <3 Hunger Games.
  • Bianca
    @Greg: Thanks for your understanding. It's OK, everyone entitled to their opinion. I wasn't try to convince anyone of my prefer cast of Chloe Moretz, just wants to share my opinion. Honestly, I'm not really her fan before. One day, I watched her Let Me In audition & some pics of her with serious expression & brunette hair. Dunno why, I suddenly picture her as Katniss, then try to watch Kick a** & Diary of Wimpy Kid, her latest films. I was blown away haha. @nelson, Meredith, Fransisco: my friend's bro is in Lionsgate Home Entertainment division, yes he's not involved with any filming & casting. However since I'm big fan of HG books, I've been following the progression and 2 days ago he told me the actresses for Katniss was shortlisted to 8 girls with Chloe on the front-runner.
  • silver
    in for David Slade just so I can see an Aronofsky directed Wolverine movie
  • Hendrik
    OH NO! They want to make it PG-13 rating. What a way to watered down the already watered down of Battle Royale. How they can show all those killings with PG-13 is beyond my comprehension.
  • GLupe
    What do people expect? We're in the comments section of a general film blog and someone pulls the ole "I have a friend who knows someone who works at a studio who has information that supports my opinion" routine. Of course the response is gonna be extreme skepticism. True or Not... doesnt really matter....a discussion about casting was happening...and she goes ahead pulls that out. The whole "i have inside info" thing holds absolutely zero weight in this arena(how could it?)...so its aggravating she decided to use that to strengthen her argument after the discussion had already started.
  • Hendrik
    G Lupe: Stop throw tantrum here, dude! No one gonna listen to you. Not that I defend anyone else or something, but out of all people here just you yourself keep whiny. You yourself is the skeptist one. I get tired read your bash comment. I dont care he or she has friend inside or not as long as she dont talk bulls**it. And she dont. Whats wrong with going ahead pulls out some fresh information? It keeps us well informed. What else for people come here? Its for get the latest news, dude!
  • max s.
    why are we only talkking about katniss when there's still Peeta, Gale, Haymitch (which i think maybe robert downey jr. could pull off), Cinna, and all the others of the gang. Anyways i'm just glad this is being made cuz hunger games is probobally my second favorite book series next to harry potter, and it would be awesome to see this be done in a movie and lionsgate made a good decision picking it up before anyone else and i also thank the lord that collins is the one writing the script cuz if this is another percy jackson than that would suck and just be insulting to the readers. One reason i wouldn't want slade is maybe he would think "hey let's bring one of the twilight kids down and give them an audition" and they get cast, because that would suck
  • GLupe
    hahha....and i'm the one throwing a tantrum? lol No one's gonna listen to me? -- I've already got you pissed off and you're now interacting with me retard. And "dude!"(grow up btw).....people come here for the "latest news" from the actual writers and editors of firstshowing, not randoms from the comments section. Surely you'll all now try to rally behind this wise insider with her "fresh information" lol. Cant wait.
  • pene123etl
    Now, now, be nice, everybody. However GLupe, I really can't see why you should feel aggravated with a news someone give. Yes we can't know whether Bianca tell the truth about have friends in Lions Gate or not, but at least she not lie 'bout everything else she say. Also I think she never try to argue with other people, as she say she just share news. It's not prohibited to give news, isn't it? Not like spoilers which I really hate. Now can we talk about directors? Because it's the real topic here. Yes, I agree David Slade made Eclipse better than it's two precedesor. However I just feel it weird he directed it after bash it. Not a fan of 30 Days of Night either. Not familiar with Gary Ross. Sam Mendes? Love American Beauty but since then, none good movies from him.
  • Louise
    Perhaps GLupe pissed coz his/her fav actress don't get shortlisted like Chloe Moretz LOL hehehe...... WOW, I search Hunger Games movie just now and her name popped eveywhere. Is she really good like many ppl says? haven't watch any of her movies yet but see her nominations in SCREAMS AWARDS. Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Michael Mann was my favs. None of them above though *sigh.* Just please don't market it as "The Next Twilight." *shudder.* Percy J failed with "The Next Harry Potter." Golden Compass failed with "The Next Lords of the Ring."
  • kc11101
    I would rather see Ross direct. Pleasantville and Seabiscuit were both beautifully directed and shot - much better than the Twilight garbage where the special effects and camera angles were worse than Saturday morning kiddie TV. As for actresses to play Katniss, acting ability and screen presence are far more important than looks or age. Abigail Breslin, Ellen Page, or Saorse Ronan would all probably be able to carry off a sullen Katniss without making her an unlikable character. Kristen Stewart would be the biggest mistake ever!
  • mw
    the books are great
  • equustel
    I don't really have a preference between those directors - I think any of them could do a good job with such strong material. Katniss will have to be cast very carefully in order for the whole thing to hang together, though. She's key. And no, Chloe or Abigail would not be appropriate choices.
  • paul
    I'm pulling for Gary Ross. He would be a interesting choice. He's a good director, and I like to see how he would handle the dark material.

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