Director Gary Ross Talks THE HUNGER GAMES

     December 17, 2010

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Last month, director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) was announced as the director to Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed novel The Hunger Games.  Ross recently sat down with EW to talk about his approach to the adaptation. Ross played rather coy about the project in the interview but did offer up some choice words in regards to the heroine of the novel Katniss:

“What makes Katniss attractive is her strength and her assuredness and her defiance and ultimately her compassion. And I don’t mean just physical strength. I mean a real strength as a human being. She knows her own truth. She feels deeply and fiercely. And this is something that the actress has to bring with her.”

The Hunger Games is part one of a trilogy focusing on an eighteen-year-old girl, who in a dystopian future must fight to the death against various other teenagers (a la Battle Royale). In the wake of Twilight, The Hunger Games has seemingly become the new “it” young adult novel. I must admit that in an effort to remain current – I too have begun to read the novel. I’m only fifty or so pages in the book; but it does show some actual literary value – something of which I couldn’t say about Stephanie Myer’s opus. For more on The Hunger Games, including some quotes from Ross in regards to casting the film as well as an official book synopsis, hit the jump.

With regards to casting, Ross remained cryptic about whether he would be casting an unknown or an established actress in the lead role of Katniss:

“We’ll cast the right person for the part. Lionsgate has been great in the respect that they don’t feel that this needs a movie star in Katniss’ role. The greatest thing about the franchise and the books being the star is that we can cast whomever we want. So we all feel like we’re just going to cast the right person.”

This to me feels like code for semi famous actress whose face you know but whose name you don’t (see Alex Pettyfer in I Am Number Four for proof of this phenomenon). Somewhere in between Amanda Seyfried and Second Girl on the left in [insert title] Michael Bay film. If I were to throw out names, how about Haley Bennett (from Joe Dante’s still unreleased The Hole) or Juno Temple (Year One).

Ross also shot down rumors that Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Laurie would be appearing in the film:

“No…It would be wrong I think to announce [them] before we’ve actually cast them or spoken to them.”

Anyways, Gary Ross is a fine filmmaker – yes, Seabiscuit is a bit schmaltzy but Pleasantville is more than enjoyable. It should be interesting to watch the filmmaker of such “heartwarming” films, try his hand at the darker and more disturbing undertones of the novel.

Book Synopsis of The Hunger Games from The School Library Journal via Amazon:

In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

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