The adaptation of the first film in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is still in production, which we previously announced here and won’t be released until March of next year, but Lionsgate is already making plans for the next book in the series, Catching Fire, and even has a locked-in release date: November 22, 2013. No further information on the film sequel was released.
I wasn’t familiar with the Hunger Games series until production on the first film was announced, but the basic plot line of the original sounds like a teen-targeted retread of movies like The Running Man, Death Race 2000, The Condemned, and of course Battle Royale (an American remake of which has been talked about for years).
The Hunger Games takes place in the not-too-distant future where a North America that has been crippled by drought, famine, and war has become the nation of Panem, divided into the Capitol and thirteen districts. Every year the people of Panem bear witness to the Hunger Games, a nationally-televised event where two contestants from each district are selected by lottery to participate in a brutal battle to the death. Primrose Everdeen (newcomer Willow Shields) is one of the participants selected from the mining district, but her 16-year-old sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone) volunteers to go in her place along with her companion Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, The Kids Are All Right), the son of the town baker.
The cast also includes Liam Hemsworth (The Last Word), Elizabeth Banks (Slither), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Wes Bentley (American Beauty), and Stanley Tucci, and Toby Jones of Captain America: The First Avenger. Donald Sutherland plays the President. Gary Ross (Plesantville) wrote the screenplay adaptation and is directing.
Ross has written and directed some good films in the past so his name being attached to this project gives it some hope. Then again how many fine directors were chewed up and spit out by the Twilight franchise? I do like the cast for this movie though; Ross actually took the time to cast real actors with pretty faces, not just pretty faces (in the case of Lawrence and Hutcherson at least). Danny Elfman will be collaborating with Oscar- and Grammy-winning producer T-Bone Burnett on the score. Tom Stern, a noted cinematographer who has shot every movie Clint Eastwood has made since 2002, is serving as the director of photography.
I hope it’s not lost on anyone that November 22, 2013 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The first Hunger Games movie will be released on March 23, 2012.