With The Hunger Games launching to record box office takings (even if the final figures were very slightly below the studio estimates), it was only a matter of time before studios and production companies scrambled to find the next dystopian tale of kids struggling with adversity to gear up as the latest possible franchise-in-waiting. And this time, the opening weekend for the Games is barely behind us and two likely candidates are being touted – Lex Thomas’ Quarantine: The Loners and Lissa Price’s Starters.
Let’s tackle Quarantine first, shall we? Variety is reporting that Black Forest Film Group has leapt on the film rights to the book (the first in a trilogy, as is the standard these days) written by the combo duo of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies.
Their concept is an action thriller in the vein of The Warriors and Lord Of The Files (with strong echoes of short-lived TV sci-fi series Jeremiah) about a virus that becomes deadly to anyone who has been through puberty. When the US army quarantines a thousand teenagers in a high school, the place becomes a battleground. Well, more of a battleground than usual, that is, as clique clashes are swapped for armed combat. The heroes are two brothers whose relationship is put under stress when a girl threatens to come between them. So that’s teens (check), dystopia (check) and hormones not in check (check!) As part of the deal, Hrabe and Voorhies are looking to pull a Suzanne Collins and write the first draft of the script themselves.
Racing alongside that and approximately 17,652 other titles to become the Next Big Teen Thing is Price’s Starters, also set in the States, but this in a world torn apart by a biological weapon. The fiendish little creation has wiped out anyone who wasn’t vaccinated, essentially leaving the young (“Starters”) and elderly (“Enders”) to scratch out a way to survive. One of the youngsters is 16-year-old Callie who, looking to help her little brother, enlists in a system whereby the oldsters can ‘rent’ the bodies of the young, transplanting their consciousness for a short time with the body’s original owner having no memory of what happens during the time. But Callie discovers that there’s a dark undercurrent to the operation. Isn’t there always? Kids today… Always complaining when old folks want to borrow their youthful skin suits to feel better and have fun and commit terrible cri… Did we say terrible crimes? We meant random acts of kindness and handing out Werther’s Originals.
There’s no studio or other company attached to this one yet, but it’ll be under auction shortly, including a script written by Price.
Will either of these make it to the screen? Only time will tell that, but we can expect a load more of these possibilities to come flooding through the doors in the coming days, weeks and months.