After making her mark on the Twilight franchise with the first film in the franchise, director Catherine Hardwicke is now in talks to develop and helm an adaptation of the award winning young-adult fantasy novel series Maximum Ride.

Most likely by the word “develop” they mean she will help to try and transition the fantasy series from the page to the screen, but she will not be writing the screenplay. Penning a first screenplay for the film (although most likely it won’t be the only draft) is Fantasic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer writer Don Payne (oohh, that’s not a good sign).

As has already been announced last year, the film will be produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul. James Patterson, writer of the source novels, will be on as an executive producer (probably just to oversee “his baby”).

Bringing this project to cinematic life is going to be a tough job – just check out what the series of novels is all about::

The five-volume series by James Patterson chronicles six teens, known as the Flock, who are genetically altered so that they are part human and part bird. Learning to fly, they escape the laboratory where they have been housed and are pursued by a pack of creatures called the Erasers that are part human and part wolf.

That sounds like another one of those ideas that may work well on the printed page, but will need some serious brain-power to make it not come off as completely ridiculous on the big-screen. It’s obviously one of those instances where it’s just too tempting to resist making into a movie. Just as an outsider whose never heard of the source material before, this sounds like a ludicrous premise. However despite the suspect choice of getting the guy who wrote the awful Fantastic Four sequel (it was better than the first, but that’s not saying much), hopefully they can find a way to make this work.

Hardwicke did a great job with the first Twilight movie (yes, I admit it, I liked it a lot), but people often forget that she didn’t just start her career with it. She’s been making films for over 20 years now (in some capacity, anyway – she didn’t actually start directing until 2003), and doing a great job of it (if you haven’t seen Thirteen, in particular, I highly recommend it).

Looking at Twilight she’s clearly comfortable working both in the fantasy genre and working off of a published source material. So it’ll be interesting to see (providing she gets the gig that is), that with her experience of this type of thing, if she is able to successfully make this fantasy film without it coming off as, dare I say, laughable.

So are there any Maximum Ride fans out there? Do you think this will be able to successfully make the jump from page to screen?

There’s a general release date of 2010 set for Maximum Ride but no specific month/day as of yet.

Source: THR and io9