'Hunger Games' To Be Rated PG-13: We Think That's Just Fine

Even though director Gary Ross has come on board "The Hunger Games" and pre-production is underway, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the film. Who will play Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Will it be in 2D or 3D? Is there any way the movie can pull off the gory scenes Suzanne Collins' book demands while maintaining a rating appropriate for its target audience?

Well, we might still be waiting on casting announcements, but at least one of those questions has been answered. Gary Ross chatted with Entertainment Weekly recently, divulging that those hoping for an R-rated film are out of luck, because "The Hunger Games" is going to be rated PG-13.

"It's not going to be an R-rated movie because I want the 12- and 13- and 14-year-old-fans to be able to go see it, Gary told EW. "This book means too much to too many teenagers for it not to be PG-13. It's their story and they deserve to be able to access it completely. I don't need to have a huge prosthetic budget or make this movie incredibly bloody in order for it to be just as compelling, just as scary, and just as riveting."

I've had friends who have argued that "Hunger Games" has to be rated R or else the film won't be able to do the story justice, but I've always disagreed. The kills in the book are gruesome and terrifying, yes, but they can be done without heavy amounts of gore while maintaining their violence. This short has already proven that.

And let's face it, if "Hunger Games" was made to be a gore-heavy "Battle Royale"-type film, then the public focus would not be on how great the story is but on the fact that all these kids are gruesomely killing one another in a movie for children. The fact that Gary is making sure to create a film accessible to the young audiences who made these books a hit speaks to how truly he understands the heart of the story.

I'm okay with not seeing as much of the gore as long as the horror underneath the deaths stays intact. And based on what Gary revealed to EW, that's what he plans on doing. He said that he and Suzanne have spent hours on the phone trying to find the best way to represent the book on the screen, and that she hasn't "written in any way an overly graphic book. Even things like the Tracker Jacker sequence, while horrific, it's the ideas that Suzanne has created that are so harrowing."

So, yeah, as long as Katniss and Peeta still have to sit for hours listening to Cato slowly be killed and mutilated by Muttations, I'm kind of okay with seeing a toned-down half-eaten version of him when Katniss finally ends his suffering.

Do you think "The Hunger Games" will live up to the book with only a PG-13 rating, or do you think it needs a hard R?