Elizabeth Banks Circling YA Franchise Hopeful Red Queen

elizabeth banks

After hitting a home-run with her directorial debut Pitch Perfect 2, Elizabeth Banks is being courted for another red-hot project at Universal. The studio is in talks with the triple threat (actress, producer and now helmer) to develop with an eye to direct Red Queen.

The adaptation of Victoria Aveyard’s YA novel has franchise potential, and Universal is hoping it can do Hunger Games numbers. Banks would first develop the project with her Brownstone Productions partner Max Handelman and production company Benderspink, which has already developed a script with Breaking Bad scribe Gennifer Hutchison.

The story centers on a world dominated by a caste system based on the color of one’s blood. Commoners are red-blooded and live to serve the silver-blooded elite, all of whom are imbued with special powers. Red Queen picks up as a 17-year-old commoner girl, named Mare, is brought before the Silver court by a chance encounter after a lifetime in the streets as a desperate thief. In front of the king, princes and nobility, Red discovers that she has a unique gift, one which allows her to continue life in the dangerous hallways of the king’s palace.

Aveyard’s book is the first in a series, and the overwhelming acclaim and success of the first installment has convinced Hollywood that it may have another YA-skewing hit on its hands. Red Queen sounds like a mash-up of DivergentGame of Thrones and Red Rising, which bodes well for its chances – particularly if Banks is sitting behind the camera.

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Source: Deadline