Lionsgate Finally Picks Gary Ross to Helm 'The Hunger Games'
Earlier this month we heard about a trio of big name directors in contention to helm Lionsgate's hopeful new franchise in an adaptation of the bestselling young adult novel The Hunger Games, the first in a trilogy of books loved by teens and adults alike. David Slade (Twiight: Eclipse) and Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition) were included in the running, but the least likely candidate for the job, Seabiscuit director Gary Ross seems to be the man for the job. Deadline says Ross has started negotiations with the studio to direct from a script written by the novel's author Suzanne Collins with a re-write from State of Play screenwriter Billy Ray.
Here's the story summary straight from the back of the book for those who aren't familiar or may be interested in picking up some new reading material:
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.
Apparently Sam Mendes withdrew his name from the race at the end of last week since the financial debacle at MGM may clear up sooner than anticipated allowing him to finally direct the next James Bond film. Word on the street is that production could begin on the 007 sequel by summer or early fall 2011 (we'll believe it when we see it). As for Ross' hiring, this seems like wholly different material for a director who has only previously helmed Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. Hopefully Lionsgate is extremely confident in their choice to kick-off the first in a presumed film trilogy. Depending on how it turns out, maybe Ross will end up directing Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the other two installments of the book series. You guys think Gary Ross is the right man for the job?