Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gary Ross Emerges Victorious in Hunger Games Director Battle

It looks as though the upcoming Hunger Games film trilogy is hungering for a director no more.  According to Deadline Hollywood, Gary Ross is Lionsgate’s choice off their menu of potential directors.  (Okay, sorry, enough with the eating jokes.)  Ross’s directorial body of work is small, with only Pleasantville and Seabiscuit under his belt, but he’s been in the writing and producing game for some time, penning such beloved comedies as Big, Dave, and Mr. Baseball.  We’ll also get to see Ross helm two other films before Hunger Games: The Crusaders and The Free State of Jones.  Like Ross’s Seabiscuit (and, arguably, Pleasantville), Crusaders and Free State of Jones are both period pieces, with Crusaders taking place during the Civil Rights movement with a young Thurgood Marshall, and Free State of Jones set during the Civil War and Reformation.  Ross is clearly comfortable working in the past, making it interesting to speculate how he’ll portray The Hunger Games’ post-apocalyptic nation of Panem.

Ross isn’t confirmed yet, but he’s the clear frontrunner for the position, beating out a long list of other contenders for the job of putting Suzanne Collins’s books on the big screen. Lionsgate chief Joe Drake and Color Force’s Nina Jacobsen have had two weeks of meetings with potential directors including Sam Mendes (who dropped out last week, possibly because MGM is back on track and gearing up for the next James Bond installment with Daniel Craig), David Slade (who’s also up for Wolverine 2), Andrew Adamson, Rupert Sanders, Susanna White, and Francis Lawrence.

Just as the games of the books have a lot riding on them, the film versions of The Hunger Games make them a “potential game-changer for Lionsgate, the way that Twilight was for Summit Entertainment,” says Deadline’s Mike Fleming.  Here’s hoping that the Hunger Games franchise won’t inspire mobs of teen girls to start their own fight-to-the-death tournament – even though that’d be way cooler than watching them swoon over a sparkly vampire.

Via Deadline Hollywood.

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