The dystopian world of “Hunger Games,” where teenagers are forced to kill each other for a chance to survive, is not a new concept.
When the film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and more, burst onto the scene this spring, many people pointed out the similarities between it and “Battle Royale,” a 2000 Japanese film with a similar concept.
In “Battle Royale,” a young man who is struggling with the death of his father is forced by the government into a deadly battle with other high school students, where they must kill each other to win. (Sound familiar?)
Now, the CW has confirmed that it is in talks to make a television series based on the film, although CW president, Mark Pedowitz, says the show would not “go in that direction” without explaining how it might change the story’s premise.
“We don’t want to produce something that couldn’t go on the air,” he said.
Pedowitz said these discussions are preliminary at best. “It’s amazing what spins out from a phone call. That’s all that has happened so far. It isn’t even in development,” he continued.
A Hollywood lawyer who represents U.S. rights to the title, Joyce Jun, also said that “there is no deal in place.”
According to the L.A. Times, for over six years, New Line wanted to produce a film version of “Battle Royale” with Neal Moritz and Roy Lee, but the project stalled in 2008 when New Line’s operations were consolidated.
And when “Hunger Games” came out this past spring, “it effectively killed any chances of a ‘Royale’ film; citing the similarities, producers said at the time that no studio would want to risk looking like copycats,” the site says.
The original film was the object of both domestic and international controversy, and was either banned or excluded from distribution in several countries. Despite this, it still became one of the ten highest grossing films in Japan, and received worldwide audience and critical acclaim.
CW also has another dystopian series in the mix: last year, it ordered a pilot of “The Selection,” originally a novel by Kiera Cass. And although they did not pick up the pilot for a series, The Hollywood Reporter reports that the show is back in development.
“The Selection,” another “Hunger Games”-esque book, follows the story of a teenage girl who lives in a world around 300 years in the future. She is one of the reluctant winners of a lottery where she must compete with 34 other girls to become the next queen of her war-torn nation at a crossroads.
And while the studio would probably hesitate to put both shows out at the same time, it might develop both and see which one garners the most interest.
So which show catches your attention? “Battle Royale” or “The Selection”?
Kiera Cass will be in Wnston-Salem on September 8, 2012, as part of the BOOKmarks Festival, which takes place downtown. BOOKmarks is a free annual one-day street festival that features discussions, readings, book signings, workshops, storytellings, performances, and demonstrations. BOOKmarks will be on Sixth and Trade Streets in the Downtown Arts District.