Variety reports that Gary Ross has signed a deal to direct the upcoming Lionsgate movie The Hunger Games. The director recently appeared at the American Film Market to promote the project.

We reported back in September that Gary Ross was Lionsgate's top choice to direct the high profile adaptation, beating out such candidates as David Slade and Sam Mendes. Ross had entered into early talks for the project, and now it seems the deal is sealed.

Screenwriter Billy Ray is polishing a screenplay by Suzanne Collins, who adapted her own hugely popular novel. Hunger Games is set in a dystopian version of America where the traditional government has crumbled and 12 districts govern themselves. Each district must choose a teenage boy and teenage girl to fight to the death on live TV.

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The Hunger Games is the first book in the novel trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The second book, Catching Fire was published last year and the final book, Mockingjay, came out earlier this year to rave reviews and on-going sales that have exceeded expectations. Many speculate that once the movie series based on these books gets rolling, it will prove to be as popular as the Twilight Saga film adaptations have been.