'Smashed' Director James Ponsoldt Gets Young Adult 'Pure' Franchise
by Ethan Anderton
January 18, 2013
After making a splash with his alcoholic drama Smashed last year (featuring a stunning turn by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), director James Ponsoldt is returning to Sundance this week with The Spectacular Now (stay tuned for a review soon). But after this indie run, the director is getting into the studio franchise business with a young adult property. THR has word that Fox 2000 has tapped Ponsoldt to direct an adaptation of the first book in The Pure Trilogy, a series of young adult novels by author Julianna Baggott. The adaptation is a hopeful franchise starter for the studio (but what isn't nowadays?) and as is the case with most of these series geared towards younger kids, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Read on!
The trade says the trilogy follows two societies: the Pures, who live under a dome and are healthy and beautiful, and the Wretches, those scarred by the devastation. In this world, Pressia, a Wretch on the run, teams up with the son of the leader of the Pures. But here's a more specific synopsis:
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost--how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked: Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss--maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
It sounds interesting, but young adult series like this are a dime a dozen nowadays. However, with a director like Ponsoldt in the driver's seat, maybe we could be looking at something successful like The Hunger Games series. Also, there's clearly a Romeo & Juliet vibe happening here, but just tailored for all the tweens who can't be bothered to learn Shakespearean verse until high school. This one is likely still a little ways off from going into production, but we'll be seeing The Spectacular Now tonight, so stay tuned for a review and more from our 2013 Sundance Film Festival coverage right here. Thoughts?