Adaptating a hot YA property is a daunting enough task that any filmmaker might be tempted to dip their toe in the water, only to run away from the pressure after only one entry. Other filmmakers are so confident in their ways that they stick around, honing their skills and pushing their talents to the next level with each installment. The team behind the last three installments of The Hunger Games are in the latter camp, and apparently they're so drunk with power right now that they're planning on taking on one of the most classic tales ever: Homer's The Odyssey.
Deadline has announced that director Francis Lawrence, as well as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay writer Peter Craig are on board to retell the story of Odysseus – the Greek sailor who goes through Hell and back on the high seas to return to his family after the Trojan War. Dangerous sea sirens, angry gods, unruly suitors... all are present and testing the classic bond between Odysseus and his beloved Penelope, in a story that's been told several times before and in different ways.
Considering how creative people have gotten with their interpretations of The Odyssey, it wouldn't be a surprise to see producer Nina Jacobson encourage Lawrence and Craig to develop a more modern approach to the timeless tale of the hero's journey. Whether this would entail a distinct period setting, a la O Brother, Where Art Thou, or just a more stylized retelling in the period appropriate to the source material is anyone's guess. The latter option seems to be the safest one, as 300 could undoubtedly serve as an influence that would draw audiences already familiar with a brand into the theaters.
Perhaps the bigger creative question is whether Peter Craig will take the multi-installment approach to Homer's epic poem. With franchises trying to extend their lifespans by extending one single book into a trilogy, the case could be made for splitting The Odyssey into a trilogy, especially if the pseudo-prequel, The Illiad, is adapted into the mix. With over 1,000 pages between the two stories, there's a good chance that the sins of The Hobbit would not be repeated with The Odyssey, though even with the titular text itself weighing in at around 500 pages, it still wouldn't be a huge stretch to see this one in theaters for summers to come.
Considering how well the last three Hunger Games films turned out, there's a chance that Francis Lawrence and company could bring to life another literary adaptation that stands as a good example of how to properly adapt a book to a film. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire still stands as one of the most faithful book to film translations, and that only serves to bolster the case for Lawrence's improvement as a director, as well as one of the right people to bring on board to tell the perilous tale of Odysseus. Of course, that's if the sirens of market research don't lure the vision of himself and his crew into the rocky waters that might sink the whole damned thing.
The Odyssey plans to set sail into production at some point next year.