How Gary Ross beat out Sam Mendes and David Slade to direct Hunger GamesS

Scoring the director's chair in the live-action movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins' wildly popular Hunger Games series was no easy task. But Gary Ross knew exactly what to show the studio to beat out all the other Hollywood contenders.

The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where every year the governing "Capitol" holds the Hunger Games, a televised event in which one boy and one girl from each new worldly district fight to the death.

According to the L.A. Times the director of the film adaptation Gary Ross (of Seabiscuit fame) wasn't the first choice. He still had to beat out names like David Slade and Sam Mendes. But after he showed Lionsgate a collection of video interviews he'd shot of, "his kids' friends explaining why the books mattered to them, and what they loved about the series' heroine, Katniss Everdeen," the studio was sold. Smart move, as it's the fans who have been generating all of the buzz for this book since day one. It's also pretty exciting to have a director who isn't afraid to find out what people really loved about the series.

According to the L.A. Times:

"What was amazing was how insightful these kids were about this book and about Katniss as a character," says producer Nina Jacobson. "It was so clear that Gary was interested in what the fans cared about."

The producer also mentioned another part of Ross that should get you excited for this film, his understanding of main character Katniss:

"In terms of his understanding of Katniss, he has twin teenage children who are a boy and girl," says Jacobson. "I felt he understood the duality of her character. She's not a traditional heroine in that frequently heroines are interested in love first and foremost and other things are secondary. That's the least of her concerns. And yet, she is a girl. She's not a boy in a dress. He seemed to understand her impulse toward self-preservation and the preservation of her family."

Production begins on this flick Spring of 2011.

Top image via fan-made Hunger Games clip.