Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) has entered into early talks to direct the new Lionsgate movie Hunger Games, according to Deadline New York.

We reported a few weeks ago that Gary Ross was one of three finalists to helm the movie, along with David Slade and Sam Mendes. While he has only just started negotiations with Lionsgate for the directing gig, it seems he is the studio's top choice.

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Hunger Games is based on the novel series by Suzanne Collins, which is set in a futuristic America where the traditional government has dissolved and the country is split into 12 districts. The story revolves around a popular reality TV series where each district is forced to send two teenagers into a battle to the death. A casting search is currently underway to find the film's heroin, Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from the Appalachian Mountains who is chosen to replace her younger sister in the games.

Billy Ray wrote the adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel, which is the first in a trilogy. The last installment, Mockingjay, was published on August 24 and has already sold over 450,000 copies.