Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Before The Hunger Games, the names Jennifer Lawrence and Gary Ross carried weight in Hollywood. But after the film made $400 million domestic, each got significantly bigger. So big in fact each can now pick and choose projects at will. Ross decided not to continue with the franchise, while Lawrence took that popularity to the Oscars. Soon they’ll find their way back together in not one, but two adaptations, including one of an American classic.

First up, the Oscar-winning actress and Oscar-nominated director are set to reteam on East of Eden, based on the John Steinbeck novel. (Which was previously adapted into a film starring James Dean.) Universal will distribute and Brian Grazer‘s Imagine Entertainment will produce. After that, a pitch is soon to be sold for Lawrence and Ross to team up for Burial Rites, based on a novel by Hannah Kent. Read more about each below.

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Ever since filmmaker Gary Ross left the Hunger Games franchise this past spring, the question’s been what he might do next. That film’s $684 million global take left Ross with no shortage of possibilities, and over the past few months he’s flirted with a number of them. Now, at long last, he’s committed to his next directorial effort. Ross is set to helm Peter and the Starcatchers, a Peter Pan prequel based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson‘s series of books. Read more after the jump.

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After making the decision to leave Panem behind this past spring, director Gary Ross could be heading next to Never Never Land. The filmmaker is in talks to direct Peter and the Starcatchers, a Peter Pan prequel based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

Disney optioned the book all the way back in 2005 with the intention of turning it into a 3D CG feature, but wound up adapting it into a Tony-winning stage musical first. With fairy tale retellings now the hottest thing in Hollywood, however, the studio’s giving it another shot. More details after the jump.

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UPDATE: A rep for Gary Ross has denied that the filmmaker is pursuing Warner Bros.’ Tarzan adaptation. Original story follows.

Could Edgar Rice BurroughsTarzan be the next classic tale to get several competing adaptations? Not only is a mo-capped 3D version featuring Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga) as the lord of the jungle coming together, but Warner Bros. has not one but two different variations on the story in the works. One is a potential trilogy that Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) has been working on since last year, and now the other one from screenwriter Adam Cozad is moving forward as David Yates, Gary Ross, and Susanna White emerge as contenders for the directing gig. More details after the jump.

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Setting a director to make The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire turned out to be a little more complicated for Lionsgate than was originally expected. While Gary Ross was first thought to be fully set to reprise his directorial duties after making the smash first film, he moved on to other jobs. After casting about for follow-up options, Lionsgate made an offer to I Am Legend, Constantine and Water For Elephants director Francis Lawrence.

Today Lawrence has signed to make Catching Fire. The film will start shooting in the fall, and “Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth will reprise their roles as Katniss, Peeta and Gale, with Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson also returning to their respective roles.” The release date remains November 22, 2013.

Read the full press release below. Read More »

For a while there, it seemed all but certain that The Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross would return for the sequel, Catching Fire. But that, of course, didn’t pan out, and with Francis Lawrence now firmly positioned in the director’s chair for that film, Ross is weighing a few different options for his next move.

Among other things, he’s just entered talks for Summit’s Houdini, an adaptation of William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s biography The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero. Ironically enough, this project could pit him against his Hunger Games successor Lawrence, who’s attached to Columbia’s unrelated Houdini project. More after the jump.

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For the last couple weeks the biggest question mark in Hollywood has been related to who Lionsgate plans to hire to direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. Originally Gary Ross was thought to be set for the film, but it turned out that he had other ideas. After some extended last-minute dealmaking attempts, some of which included minor manipulations of the news that he was walking away from the film, Ross was revealed to be out of the picture for good.

So who steps in? A shortlist came out that includes some surprising names: David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Now we can add two more names to the ‘possible’ column: Moneyball director Bennett Miller, and I Am Legend and Constantine director Francis Lawrence. Read More »

Before The Hunger Games was released, I spoke with Gary Ross on numerous occasions and each time he seemed extremely confident he’d be back to direct the sequel, Catching Fire. He’d hand selected the screenwriter, had thoughts about casting and Lionsgate even set a release date. Then his film blew up into an gargantuan success and rumors began swirling Ross wasn’t going to come back. The Playlist then confirmed this. Days later, Deadline wrote otherwise and we all just thought it was public posturing for a bigger check. According to Gary Ross, that was not the case.

Ross has released a statement that explains why he will not be back to direct Catching Fire, finally closing the book on the argument and you can read it after the jump. Read More »

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