It seems that Lionsgate is keen to capitalize on the winning Hunger Games formula, by setting its makers the task of delivering a new film version of Homer’s The Odyssey. The sweeping epic is now in development, and is scheduled to begin production in early 2016, immediately following global promotional activities for the franchise closer The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 2 – set for release on November 20th 2015. The adaptation will be directed by regular Hunger Games helmer Francis Lawrence, written by Peter Craig (writer of the Mockingjay films) and produced by Hunger Games producer, Nina Jacobson.
The Odyssey is an epic, ancient Greek poem attributed to Homer, who is thought to have composed it around the end of the 8th century BC. Its main character is Odysseus and the tale details the events that befall him during his 10 year journey home from the decade-long Trojan War. Unaware of his quest to return, his family assume he has been killed in action, leaving his wife and child to contend with a variety of potential replacements.
The poem has featured in modern film many times, in various levels of detail. Perhaps the most notable of these loose adaptations is the Joel and Ethan Coen film, O Brother Where Art Thou?, in which the lead character (played by George Clooney) bears the name Ulysses, which comes from the Roman mythological interpretations of Odyssey. His epic and eventful journey home is portrayed to a significant extent, featuring a Cyclops, sirens and the lead characters being almost drowned, among other familiar narrative elements.
While the Coen Bros version delivered an inevitably comedic vision of the story, this Lionsgate adaptation of The Odyssey sounds far more faithful to the intention of the source material. The announcement seems to suggest we should expect cinema of grand scale and ambition, which is something this Hunger Games team is more than capable of delivering. With the project apparently being fast-tracked, casting news may well surface during the coming months – information that will give a greater sense of the direction these filmmakers are headed with this literary classic.