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Gary Ross In Lionsgate Cross-Hairs For Coveted ‘Hunger Games’ Assignment

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Gary Ross is in early talks to direct The Hunger Games, the first installment of the novel trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The film is a joint production between Lionsgate and Color Force’s Nina Jacobson. Filming will start next year with a script by Billy Ray, who rewrote a draft by the author. The huge sales of the trilogy make the film adaptations a potential game-changer for Lionsgate, the way that Twilight was for Summit Entertainment. It has been a coveted job among directors (Three More Directors Circle ‘The Hunger Games’), and Lionsgate picture chief Joe Drake and Jacobson spent the past two weeks meeting candidates that included Sam Mendes, David Slade (also a contender for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 job), Andrew Adamson, Rupert Sanders, and Nanny McPhee Returns helmer Susanna White. There was also talk about Francis Lawrence. It’s unclear who stayed in or out as Lionsgate focused on Ross, who directed Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. He isn’t set yet, but he is the choice. Let the negotiating games begin. Mendes, for instance, bowed out of contention last Friday, and I’m told it was because the MGM picture is clearing up and it looks like production on 007 could begin by late summer or early fall, 2011 with Mendes at the helm and Daniel Craig back in the Aston Martin. Read More »

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Three More Directors Circle ‘Hunger Games’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I need to add three more directors to the list of filmmakers meeting in New York this week with Lionsgate brass for the feature adaption of the Suzanne Collins bestseller Hunger Games. I’d already reported that Gary Ross, Sam Mendes and David Slade were meeting, but am told that Lionsgate motion pictures group president Joe Drake and producer Nina Jacobson are also meeting with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe director Andrew Adamson; Rupert Sanders, a major British director of commercials including Microsoft’s Halo, who has been in the hunt on several of these big films to make his directing debut; and Susanna White, the Nanny McPhee Returns helmer who also directed episodes of the HBO mini Generation Kill and the British minis Bleak House and Jane Eyre. They could expand the field–Francis Lawrence seems a late candidate–but I gather it’s down to this group and that a decision should come shortly.

EARLIER: EXCLUSIVE: The next big film directing job in Hollywood will be decided late next week. That’s when Lionsgate chooses a filmmaker for The Hunger Games, the first installment of a trilogy based on the Suzanne Collins novel series that many feel could be the next Twilight. I’m told that Lionsgate (partnered with former Disney production topper Nina Jacobson’s Color Force) has gotten Billy Ray’s rewrite, and will meet with three elite directors next week before making a decision. Gary Ross, Sam Mendes and David … Read More »

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