Director Gary Ross is perhaps best known for the crowd pleasing hit Pleasantville (1998) and the acclaimed historical horse racing drama Seabiscuit (2003), the film maker has now turned his attention to adapting the popular trilogy of novels by author Suzanne Collins, based on the adventures of a young woman in a post apocalyptic world controlled by a totalitarian and media crazed state.

Heavy stuff, but The Hunger Games and its two sequels have firmly found a cult following amongst a young readership whilst also receiving critical acclaim from the pundits, recognition that makes the story ripe for an evitable big screen adaptation.

Set amidst a futuristic North America ruled from a totalitarian capital, The Hunger Games follows the traumatic exploits of Katniss Everdeen.

Chosen from the rural backwater of the twelfth district, the young combatant will find herself broadcast in a series of televised events, a contest that will witness the teenager not only compete against those chosen from the other districts but engage in a fight for survival in a contest where only one contestant will leave the games alive.

Jennifer Lawrence has recently made her mark with a captivating and emotional performance in the highly acclaimed drama Winter's Bone (2010) as well as a star turn as the changeling Mystique in Matthew Vaughn's superior comic book take on the origins to the X-Men.

A recent track record that perhaps makes the young actress the perfect choice to portray the heroine in Ross's adaptation.

No doubt Lionsgate will hope that The Hunger Games will fill the void left behind by both the Harry Potter series and the departing Twilight franchise, however, a mass following on the bookshelf does not automatically guarantee a successful conversion into an ongoing cinema saga.

A fact realised by Chris Weitz and his troubled adaptation of Philip Pullman's complex and fantastic "His Dark Materials" trilogy, an overly ambitious film project that not only failed to ignite the box office but also still awaits a sequel.

Visually the teaser for The Hunger Games hints at a nice mix between the heavily forested Northern American landscape with it's lush woodlands and the almost septic and oppressive setting of the futuristic city, a contrast slightly reminiscent of that seen in Logan's Run (1976) whilst the media crazed games also share some common ground with the cautionary tale found in Ray Bradbury's seminal novel, Fahrenheit 451(1953).

Ross has also fleshed out of his vision of a post apocalyptic world with a cast featuring the talents of box office favourite Woody Harrelson alongside heavyweights Stanley Tucci and Tobey Jones whilst rocker Lenny Kravitz also bizarrely lends his support as a futuristic fashion consultant.

Elsewhere, the evergreen and always eccentric legend that is Donald Sutherland will no doubt have a whale of time portraying the future President of what was once the USA.

So a teenage Gladiator in the making?

Ross certainly has a past track record for delivering family friendly and intelligent movies that are firmly based on strong characterisation and storytelling combine this with a lead from one of most captivating and upcoming starlets of American cinema, and all bodes well for The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games is released in UK cinemas on 23rd March 2012

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