Everyone I know with even a slight taste for fantasy books is all over The Hunger Games, the young adult novel series by Suzanne Collins that foretells a future in which teenagers must fight to the death in organized games. It's a brutal concept that apparently becomes a fascinating series, but the kind of thing that's hard to translate to the screen, since reading about teenagers killing each other is a whole lot different from seeing it on the screen. And according to the director of the planned film adaptation, Gary Ross, they're definitely going to have to tone things down in order to keep the young adult audience in place.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Ross insists that it's not so much the images conjured in the book that are so horrifying, but the ideas behind them, and his film doesn't have to be excessively bloody to get all of that across. Plus, the fans of the books are too young to get into R-rated movies anyway:

"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. 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. And I don’t think it needs to be more extreme than that. 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.”

Ross's interview is apparently a lot more detailed in the print edition of Entertainment Weekly out today, so Hunger Games fans can pick that up for more information. Having not read the books I'm not really certain how much would be lost if some of the book's more significant violence is toned down, but it's not at all surprising that a series based on a teen-friendly book would demand a PG-13 rating. Even if you were really pushing for the R, you can't claim you don't understand why they're going this way.

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