Catherine Hardwicke To Direct 'The Maze Runner'

After kicking off one of the most successful movie franchises of all time with the first Twilight movie, director Catherine Hardwicke has since moved onto other things, namely Red Riding Hood, a new take on the classic Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, which hits theaters next Spring.

Now it's being reported that Hardwicke will possibly follow up that fantasy film with yet another - an adaptation of the young-adult fantasy book The Maze Runner, by author James Dashner.

The Wrap reports exclusively that Hardwicke is in early negotiations to direct The Maze Runner for 20th Century Fox, a film the studio is no doubt hoping will kick off another major fantasy franchise. The adaptation is of the first book in a trilogy, first published just last October. Author James Dashner is expected to pen the screenplay for the adaptation.

In case you're unfamiliar with The Maze Runner, The Wrap kindly provides a synopsis:

The story follows a boy named Thomas who wakes up in a strange place called the Glade with no memory aside from his first name. The Glade is an enclosed structure populated by other boys, and is surrounded by tall, stone walls that protect them from monsters called Grievers that live in the Maze, which surrounds the walls around the Glade.

Every day, some of the kids who are Runners venture into the labyrinth trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit. As soon as Thomas arrives, unusual things begin to happen and the others grow suspicious of him. The Maze seems familiar to Thomas, but he's unable to make sense of the place despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. When the first girl arrives in the Glade, she brings a message that she will be the last one to ever arrive in the Glade, as the end is near.

The book series has already drawn comparisons to The Hunger Games trilogy, which is also being adapted into a movie under the direction of Gary Ross.

The Maze Runner sounds like it deals with the age-old issues of adolescence, growing up and the differences (and similarities) between male and female behavior. Hardwicke is no stranger to these sorts of themes, which were touched on in the first Twilight movie. What's nice to see is the director choosing to helm a fantasy movie that doesn't involve myths, legends or fairy tales we're familiar with - she has already dealt with vampires and werewolves in Twilight, and the Little Red Riding Hood story in Red Riding Hood.

Catherine Hardwicke - Twilight and Red Riding Hood

While certainly intriguing, I am wondering just how The Maze Runner can be successfully translated from page-to-screen. The idea of a group of boys being trapped inside a giant walled maze and continually trying to find a way out, all the while avoiding Maze-dwelling monsters, doesn't exactly sound like the easiest of things to make work on-screen.

Having said that, Hardwicke has a keen eye for interesting visuals (Red Riding Hood at least looks gorgeous) so I am willing to put faith in her that she will, if nothing else, make The Maze Runner visually impressive.

For those wondering about Hardwicke's modern day version of Hamlet, that project reportedly fell apart a couple of months ago, the reason why is still unclear (too much of a hard sell to today's audiences? Too big of a financial risk?). While that may be bad news for Hardwicke fans, at least we still have her Maze Runner movie to help heal the wounds.

No shooting or release dates have been scheduled for The Maze Runner yet. You can catch Hardwicke's latest film, Red Riding Hood, when it hits theaters on March 11th, 2011.

Source: The Wrap

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