It’s always been a trend to make movies and plays based on books and novels. Adapting written works for the screen is nothing new. However, there are some movies in pre-production and filming right now that I’m excited to see.

THE HUNGER GAMES

I’m a big fan of The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I tore through the books—favourite is the first book—and wasn’t at all surprised to hear that it’d been optioned for a movie.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss (Entertainment Weekly)

Exclusive first look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in Entertainment Weekly

My one hope was that the main characters would be completely unknown actors. I realize that this then typecasts them, but think about the first Harry Potter movie; no one knew the main actors so you easily got lost into the story without thinking “that’s so-and-so”.For example, you watch Men In Black and you’re not thinking that the main character is called ‘James Darrell Edwards’ or even ‘Agent J’, it’s Will Smith.

Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss and she was recently nominated for Winter’s Bone. I still thought she would be an okay Katniss mainly because she hadn’t become an iconic hit in that movie.

But I recently found out she’s Mystique in this summer’s X-Men film. I’m very worried that her name will be come synonymous with a character, such as when you say “Harry Potter” people know you’re talking about Daniel Radcliffe.

The Hunger Games doesn’t have an official website yet, but they’ve got an official Twitter and official Facebook Fan Page. The Facebook page is pretty awesome and has photos of all the tributes so far.

The full cast list is on IMDB.com and shows Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Stanley Tucci as Caesar the television host. Stanley Tucci will be incredible, and I just hope Woody Harrelson isn’t too Woody Harrelson. I’ve noticed he often picks roles that are very similar to his own personality and doesn’t actually act much. I have a soft spot for Haymitch, so he better do it justice!

The Hunger Games comes out in theatres March 23, 2012. I sense a birthday outing!

THE LIFE OF PI

Yann Martel’s award-winning book, The Life of Pi, was picked up by an award-winning director Ang Lee (below, left). In April, it was announced that Tobey Maguire had joined The Life of Pi cast as the narrator.

The Life of Pi movie, directed by Ang Lee, starring 17-year-old Suraj Sharma

Piscine Mlitor “Pi” Patel will be played by 17-year-old Suraj Sharma (above, right) and well-known Indian actor Irrfan Khan (not pictured) will play the older version of Pi. I’m really glad M. Night Shymalan isn’t directing (he was slated to for a while). Not much more news has come up about this but I’ll keep my ears open.

The Life of Pi is slated to open in December 2012.

THE HOBBIT

I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I kinda suck at remembering all the little details (Tolkien was incredible!), but I love epic fantasy tales and adventures. I cannot believe that The Lord of the Rings movies came out ten years ago already. When I heard that The Hobbit movie was going ahead with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh at the helm, I rejoiced. I’ve been following Peter Jackson on Facebook as well as the official Hobbit fan page for updates.

The White Council including Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf

"Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel brandishing an array of fearsome Elvish weapons" – Peter Jackson

The cast and crew have been in New Zealand since the beginning of the year and they began filming in mid-March. Some of the LOTR cast is back too: Ian Holm is back as an older Bilbo, Orlando Bloom is as Legolas (because elves don’t visibly age), Ian McKellen is Gandalf, Hugo Weaving is back as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum… I’m so excited!

The Hobbit, which takes place 60 years before The Fellowship of the Ring, is being split into two films. The first will open December 14, 2012, titled ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘. The second will be released December 13, 2013, titled ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again‘. A friend has said that the first movie will deal mainly with the storyline from The Hobbit book, while the second movie will bridge the gap between where The Hobbit left off and where The Fellowship of the Ring began. Unfortunately I can’t find anything ‘official’ to confirm this.

In other fun Hobbit news, Peter Jackson is (slowly) answer 20 questions on his Facebook page, so perhaps it will come up there. If you want an more succinct summary of news so far, this is a great fan website and there is an Official Hobbit Blog.