Gary Ross

Not a whole lot of negotiators on film look like Elizabeth Banks. They’re usually gruff, jaded, overweight, sloppy, and any other cliche description you can think of. Most of those adjectives don’t much apply to Banks, whose negotiator even uses her looks for the job. However, even though the actress doesn’t come anywhere close to the appearance of a 300-pound 50-something, she still gets to do plenty of things those old men get to do. She gets to shout, “This is my negotiation,” and without having to be bold and off-putting while doing it. That’s an accomplishment right there. It’s a nice little twist on the genre, and in my brief conversation with Banks, that’s what she seemed to be the most impressed about when it came to Man on a Ledge, the new thriller involving Sam Worthington hanging on a ledge for mysterious reasons…mysterious reasons that were mostly revealed in the trailer.

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The Hunger Games

Our wise overlord Cole Abaius recently pointed out one of the most burning questions in Hollywood this year: will The Hunger Games be the next big thing? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself ever since the project was announced. The fanbase is there, but doesn’t come close to matching the Twilight nation. And an even bigger question is whether this adaptation will reach non-fans, which will remain up in the air until the film’s released. The trailer was a mess and I can’t see this run-of-the-mill poster (courtesy of Moviefone) catching the eye of anyone who doesn’t obsess over the books. However, even if the marketing continues to rely on this image of Jennifer Lawrence looking like a plastic doll, my main hope will remain intact. It’s been over eight years since Gary Ross’s last film, so it’ll be nice having him back, franchise hit or not.

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Pretty much from the first moment that the Hunger Games movie became official, Lionsgate has been confident that it’s going to be a huge hit. The entire production of the film has been the subject of a media blitz too large to recap here. So it comes as no surprise that even before the first film has been released, work has begun on getting its sequel together. For those not in the know, Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” was the first part of a trilogy of novels whose subsequent books are titled “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay.” So what’s the news on development for Catching Fire? The Wrap is reporting that not only has Lionsgate secured Hunger Games director Gary Ross to come back and do the sequel, but they’ve also hired screenwriter Simon Beaufoy to come on and adapt the book into a screenplay. Beaufoy has an impressive resume that includes films like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, so I don’t really think his hiring can be seen as a disappointment, even though it might point to the notion that Collins and Ross might not be as hands-on with the writing process on this one as they were the first.

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Now that I’m a Reject, we’re going to have to get to know each other, even if it hurts a little at first (I’ll be gentle, I promise). Case in point – I am a fan of The Hunger Games; there’s just something about dystopic future societies and kids made to kill each other in giant, evil, booby-trapped arenas that gets me going. On this week’s Reject Radio, the charming Eric D. Snider spoke with me and my excellent new bossman Cole Abaius (cough, cough, where’s my raise, cough) about not understanding Internet outcry about first images, tiny teaser trailers, and even costume decisions for anticipated films. I’m going to add to all of that right now, with our first look at Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in Gary Ross’s The Hunger Games.

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Please don’t actually hold your lighter up to the screen to try this at home. Seriously. Put it down. This new motion poster for The Hunger Games features the main icon of the series – the Mockinjay Pin – which explodes in flames, but there’s no need to describe it here since it’s probably roasting below right now. Plus, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, this is technically worth 34,000,000. And, honestly, would you put that lighter away?

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After a lot of colorful online debate and a scouring of the young Hollywood scene by director Gary Ross and company, finally the main male roles have been cast for The Hunger Games. The casting doesn’t come as much of a shock, as these guys are the ones whose names have been getting mentioned over and over for the past couple weeks; but now it’s official. Lionsgate has announced that Josh Hutcherson will play the role of Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth will be Gale Hawthorne opposite Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen. The Hunger Games, as has been described ad nauseum over the past month or so, tells the story of a young girl in a lousy future world who gets picked to participate in an annual event where children hunt each other on a giant game board, Running Man style. Peeta is the soulful baker’s son that has had a crush on Katniss ever since they were children, and who is picked to go into the games with her as the male contestant from their district. He is kind of the moral center of the story, and the one character that is never in it for himself. Gale is Katniss’ longtime friend and companion. Every day they travel outside of their district’s gate to engage in illegal hunting, in order to better feed their families. Gale is more intense than Peeta, and has a burning resentment toward the tyrannical regime that controls their lives. Just before Katniss is called away […]

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The Internet can get kind of obsessive when it comes to its young adult action/adventure novels. The Hunger Games is the latest severely popular book series about young people facing grave peril while forming tumultuous love triangles that is in pre-production for a film adaptation, and speculation about the casting has been running wild. To this point, most of the talk has been about who would play the lead character Katniss Everdeen. We’ve reported that Hailee Steinfeld is one of the front-runners for the role. In addition to Steinfeld, the most oft mentioned young actresses that keep getting drug through the rumor mill seem to be Chloe Moretz and, most recently, Jennifer Lawrence. While debate over who is likely and who would be best rages over the Katniss casting, some talk about the male lead has started up as well. The Playlist talked with Alex Pettyfer, and he confirmed that he is being courted to possibly join the Gary Ross directed film. While he has been sent a script, Pettyfer says that he has yet to read it. You might recognize Pettyfer, as he’s a ridiculously dreamy young guy, he’s had two big films released in the last couple weeks, and he is probably poised to be young Hollywood’s next it boy. His two recent releases were the super-heroic I Am Number Four and the super-pathetic Beastly. That’s one marketed toward the boys and one toward the girls. All he probably needs is one high profile role to really break […]

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For fans of the extremely popular book series written by Suzanne Collins, March 23, 2012 may seem like a decade away, but Lionsgate has officially announced that the world will get to see The Hunger Games in a little over a year. The movie sees young scrapper Katniss Everdeen (whose name makes her sound like a family friend of the Royal Tenenbaums) striving to outwit, outplay and out-not die during a reality television show inspired by Battle Royale. The game is. Not the movie. The movie might not be anything like Battle Royale (even though that would be awesome). Incredibly talented writer/director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) will be helming the project from a script from State of Play writer Billy Ray, but no lead has signed on yet. Get director. Questionable writer. Movie that sees children battling each other. Sold. See you in March. [EW]

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“The Hunger Games” is a fantastic book that I was going to write up for Print to Projector on the very day that it was announced for production. While this caused me to abandon writing my column that day, it also caused some celebration because the book deserves its popularity and its chance to be on screen. Now it appears that Seabiscuit director Gary Ross might be the one to bring child on child violence to its rightful place in our theaters and in our hearts.

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About a week or so ago, it was announced that the last remaining member of the Kennedy family serving in Congress, Patrick Kennedy, would not be running for re-election in the coming election. And for the first time in decades, there will not be a Kennedy in Congress. But the Kennedy legacy, as you might imagine, isn’t going anywhere. Mike Fleming at Deadline is reporting that Matt Damon is now attached to a biopic of Robert F. Kennedy.

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venom-ross

Last we checked, the production of a Venom spin-off was on hold, stuck in script draft notes hell. Don’t look now though, as Sony appears to have some new plans…

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