[Update: Ross is now finalizing a deal to direct The Hunger Games.]

Do you know the name Gary Ross? If not, he’s the screenwriter of Big turned Oscar-nominated director who has only helmed two films – Pleasantville and Seasbiscuit – with several other films on his slate of upcoming projects.

Deadline is reporting that Ross is in talks to add another upcoming film to his to do list, the dystopian action film The Hunger Games, based on the first book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of bestselling novels.

A couple of weeks ago we brought you the news that The Hunger Games was being adapted for the big screen by Lionsgate, with a trio of possible directors being eyed by the studio – Ross, Sam Mendes and David Slade. Well, from this latest report it would appear that Ross is the frontrunner, and will likely walk away with the job.

UPDATE: Variety reports that Gary Ross has all but signed on the dotted line to direct The Hunger Games for Lionsgate. An official announcement is expected soon.

The Hunger Games tells the story of a future in which twelve districts of a totalitarian nation are all that’s left of America. Every year, a boy and girl between 12 – 18 is chosen from each district and pitted against the rival districts in a battle to the death. Last boy or girl standing wins much-needed food to help their district survive another year. The script for the film was written by Collins, and then reworked by screenwriter Bill Ray (State of Play).

Another rumor that came at the time that directors were being name-dropped for The Hunger Games is that Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In) was being considered for the role of the protagonist, a poor girl named Katniss Everdeen, who is an able marksman and hunter chosen to represent her district alongside a poor baker’s son. No further word on whether or not Moretz is getting the part.

People are already comparing The Hunger Games to films like The Running Man and Battle Royal, which are fair and frankly inspiring comparisons for somebody like me, who knows little about these books. Since the books are such big bestsellers (the third installment sold roughly half a million copies this past summer) it’s easy to believe the early speculation that Lionsgate is attempting to do with this series what Summit Entertainment was able to do with The Twilight Saga – turn the series into a cinematic cash-cow.

I’ll be keeping my eye on The Hunger Games‘ development. I recommend you stay tuned and do the same.

Source: Deadline

Update Source: Variety

Header Image source: Hunger Games fans

Hunger Games artwork source: Kristenstewarttwilight.om