Funny thing about The Hunger Games. For a book that's sold twelve million copies, I hadn't heard of it, and several acquaintances I've asked haven't heard of it, nor read it either.
Still, The Hunger Games movie is coming next March 23, and Lion's Gate is hoping it will be the next Twilight saga. Normally all this would go in one ear and out the other with me, but what definitely piqued my interest is that it's being penned and directed by Gary Ross, the writer of Big, Dave, and writer / director of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit.
Ross has definitely carved out a unique niche with the movies he's made, and he adapted the screenplay with the author Suzanne Collins. It is probably worth noting that Ross's father was also the co-screenwriter of Creature From the Black Lagoon.
The basic plot? A group of teenage kids fighting each other to the death in a desolate future, the tag line is "May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor," and it stars Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and Lenny Kravitz.
The Hunger Games is coming out through Lion's Gate, and an L.A. Times report calls it "a game changer" for the company - a planned four movie series - with the first movie being the biggest budgeted film Lion's Gate has made to date. (Lion's Gate also released the Saw films, Tyler Perry's Madea movies, and Precious).
Still, Joe Drake of Lion's Gate told the Times that Hunger Games wasn't a make-or-break opportunity for the company, but emphaszied "it's a really important one we cannot screw up."
Although Hunger Games may not immediately seem like the kind of movie Ross would tackle, on the release of Dave, he told the L.A. Times, "I clearly deal with innocence – corruption vs. non-corruption – a lot. I like examining that question: 'Does a lack of corruption make you stronger or weaker in a corrupt system? Where it comes from in me, I don't know, but I honestly wonder about that."
Clearly, The Hunger Games will also deal with how a teenage girl stands in a future gone mad, and how she can similarly stay intact and survive.