SPOILER ALERT: In the first five minutes of this interview, Gary Ross gives information about The Hunger Games that may spoil the plot for listeners who are unfamiliar with the story.
Writer/director Gary Ross is coming back to live action for the first time since his 2003 film Seabiscuit in a big way, with the first of four films based on the bestselling trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games is set in the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Panem and revolves around Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old sharp shooter with a fierce will to survive, played in the film by Winter's Bone Academy Award-nominee Jennifer Lawrence.
The Hunger Games will undoubtedly be a blockbuster, having been translated into 26 different languages and selling three million copies worldwide. But under the action and adventure lie universal themes that drew Gary in the first place: from reality TV and entertainment versus spectacle, to the 99 percent and media as a means of political control. Ross explains why he felt compelled to tell this particular story onscreen after a nine year hiatus from live-action, and how The Hunger Games shares similar themes with his previous work, from Big to Pleasantville to Dave.