Though it was sad to see Gary Ross leave the Hunger Games franchise after only one film, I was excited to see what the director would choose as his follow-up in the wake of the massive success of that franchise-starter. He circled a few projects, including the adventure film The Secret Life of Houdini and a Peter Pan prequel called Peter and the Starcatchers, and it now appears that Ross has settled on the latter as his post-Hunger Games directorial project. Hit the jump for more.
Per Deadline, Ross has now firmed up Disney’s Peter and the Starcatchers as his next film. The pic is an adaptation of the childrens novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and follows ““a young Peter who befriends Molly, a shipmate he meets on the Never Land ship headed towards King Zarboff. Molly tells Peter of a mysterious trunk filled with magical starstuff that must remain out of the hands of the pirate Black Stache (who will lose his hand and become Captain Hook). Together Peter and Molly lead an effort to recover the trunk, which takes them on a treacherous journey.”
Ross is waiting on a new draft of the script by Jesse Wigutow that’s scheduled to be turned in this October, but he’s keen on directing the project as quickly as possible in 2013. The pic has already been budgeted so it’s well on its way to pre-production. The adventure story is the kind of ambitious material that I hoped Ross would tackle post-Hunger Games, and his strong focus on character and story should suit the material well. As for Houdini, Deadline notes that Ross has “lost interest” in that project. The director never got as far as making a deal with Summit to bring the magician story to the screen.
Peter and the Starcatchers isn’t the only Peter Pan project in the works, as Sony is working on a film called Neverland with director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and producer Channing Tatum. No word on how close that project is to production, but I’d imagine that with Ross firmly onboard, Disney won’t hesitate to get Peter and the Starcatchers in front of cameras.
Read the synopsis for the novel below:
Don’t even think of starting this book unless you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and have lots of time. A fast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the NeverLand, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger.
Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.
Earlier this summer Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) pulled out of the running to direct The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and ended up talking to Disney about developing a project for them called Peter and the Starcatchers. According to Deadline, he's officially secured the directing gig and it will be his next film project. It looked like he would be directing a film for Summit Entertainment called The Secret Life of Houdini, but apparently he was tired of waiting around for the studio to make a deal, and he lost interest.
Peter and the Starcatchers is the first in a book series written Dave Barry and Ridley Pierson, that has already been adapted into a Tony Award-winning Broadway production. The script for the film is currently being written by Jesse Wigutow.
The story is a Peter Pan origin story, that follows "a young Peter who befriends Molly, a shipmate he meets on the Never Land ship headed towards King Zarboff. Molly tells Peter of a mysterious trunk filled with magical starstuff that must remain out of the hands of the pirate Black Stache (who will lose his hand and become Captain Hook). Together Peter and Molly lead an effort to recover the trunk, which takes them on a treacherous journey."
I've enjoyed watching Ross' films over the years, which also include Seabiscuit and Pleasantville. This newest project is definitely different from any of his other films, especially since it's a fantasy. I've never read the books, but it sounds like a fun story and a good project for Ross to take on. He hopes to start shooting it in early 2013.
What are your thoughts on Ross directing this movie? Do you think it's a good fit for his directing style?
Here's a description of the book:
In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil. Bestselling authors Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have turned back the clock and revealed a wonderful story that precedes J. M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan. Peter and the Starcatchers is brimming with richly developed characters from the scary but somehow familiar Black Stache and the ferocious Mister Grin to the sweet but sophisticated Molly and the fearless Peter. Riveting adventure takes listeners on a journey from a harsh orphanage in old England to a treacherous sea in a decrepit old tub. Aboard the Never Land is a trunk that holds a magical substance with the power to change the fate of the world - just a sprinkle and wounds heal and just a dusting and people can fly. Towering seas and a violent storm are the backdrop for battles at sea. Bone-crushing waves eventually land our characters on Mollusk Island - where the action really heats up.