The Hunger Games, which has landed at Lionsgate, is being set up and touted as the next Twilight. And the studio is hoping for a gargantuan hit franchise. Director Gary Ross, perhaps best known for Seabiscuit, was chosen to helm the first installment of Suzanne Collins's brutal trilogy. He has come forward to explain why he feels the three movies need to be rated PG-13.
The story of The Hunger Games follows sixteen-year-old (and not yet cast) Katniss Everdeen, a young women coming of age in a post-apocalyptic landscape where she must fight to the death in an annual televised competition that pits boys and girls from different districts against each other. The book is quite violent, and could, if filmed as written, garner an R rating. But Ross won't let that happen:
"It's not going to be an R-rated movie because I want the 12- and 13- and 14-year-old-fans to be able to go see it. This book means too much to too many teenagers for it not to be PG-13. It's their story and they deserve to be able to access it completely. And I don't think it needs to be more extreme than that. I don't need to have a huge prosthetic budget or make this movie incredibly bloody in order for it to be just as compelling, just as scary, and just as riveting. (It's not) an overly graphic book. Even things like the Tracker Jacker sequence, while horrific, it's the ideas that Suzanne has created that are so harrowing."
"I think anybody who's read the two books knows that they are as different as night and day, with very little in common other than the youthfulness of their protagonists. I mean, Holden Caulfield is young too! But as a producer you can't help but be thrilled that people are comparing something that you're working on to something that so many people love.