The director reaping is nearing an end: Gary Ross is in talks to direct the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' critically acclaimed young adult novel "The Hunger Games."

Lionsgate, the studio co-producing the film along with Color Force's Nina Jacobson, is in early talks with the director, Deadline reports. Over the past few weeks, the studio has been meeting with a who's who of directors including "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" helmer David Slade, Sam Mendes, Andrew Adamson, Rupert Sanders and Susanna White.

Ross is an Oscar-nominated director and writer, known for his work on "Seabiscuit," "Pleasantville" and the comedy "Dave." Deadline emphasized that Ross has not been locked in, but that he is the studio's choice, pending negotiations.

"The Hunger Games" is the first installment of a trilogy focusing on 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen. Katniss lives in a dystopian version of the U.S. called Panem, which is divided into 12 districts and ruled by a capricious Capitol. To remind the districts' citizens of their failed great rebellion, every year each district must send two of its children into a televised glorified death match known as the Hunger Games, where the last kid standing wins. Katniss, who has long been feeding her family by hunting with bow and arrow on the sly, volunteers to take her young sister's place in the games. While she fights for survival, she also finds herself in a torturous love triangle and an underground movement to overthrow the government.

Upon its release last month, "Mockingjay," the third book in the trilogy, debuted at #1 on both the New York Times and the USA Today best-seller lists. Collins was also named on Time's 100 Most Influential People list of 2010.

Along with potential helmers, much talk has surrounded the casting of the coveted lead role of Katniss. Names from Kristen Stewart to Chloe Moretz have been mentioned in connection with the project. It can be assumed that once a director is in place, casting will begin in earnest.

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