It’s finally happening; Lionsgate is making some progress on the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Back in May word got out that the director would be announced by the summer. Clearly that didn’t happen, but it’s okay because it is now and it was certainly worth the wait because the studio has three possibilities all of whom are top-notch options. The guys in the running for the job are Gary Ross, Sam Mendes and David Slade.
I say they cross Ross off the list first. I absolutely love Pleasantville and Seabiscuit is fantastic, but The Hunger Games is a wildly different piece of material. It’s just impossible to look at either production and think that The Hunger Games could be good for him. I’m thinking the same is true with Sam Mendes. American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road are all great films, but none of which prove Mendes can handle a teen-centric Battle Royale-esque drama.
In my eyes, there’s just one clear frontrunner and that’s David Slade. If the guy can do what he did with the third installment of The Twilight Saga, I’d hire him for just about anything! However, this isn’t just anything; The Hunger Games is beloved by readers throughout the world, has an immense amount of on-screen potential and could in fact be the next Harry Potter or Twilight. Slade single-handedly brought The Twilight Saga back to life. The first was okay, the second a complete bore, but then Slade stepped in and revved things up, delivering a final product that is ten times more emotional than its predecessors, includes a fantastic action sequence and is even a little light-hearted as well.
The Hunger Games is quite possibly the best book I’ve ever read, followed close behind by the second novel in the series, Catching Fire, and the most recent installment, Mockingjay, so even if Lionsgate doesn’t go for Slade, at least there’s still two totally qualified back-ups. No, based on their resumes, they’re not as well suited for the gig as Slade, but we’re talking about two talented professionals here; they can adapt.
According to Deadline, the studio’s final choice will be announced later this week. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, go read Collins’ books. I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
By Perri Nemiroff