“The Maze Runner” is one of the various young-adult book franchises that Hollywood is attempting to make into their latest big-screen cash cow. But for every “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” or “The Hunger Games,” there’s a “Golden Compass,” “Cirque Du Freak” or “Eragon,” so it’s a difficult business making sure that great material survives the transition from the page to the screen. Fox thought they had this franchise in safe hands with “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke signed on to direct the first installment, but it seems that at some point between now and December 2010 she left to pursue other projects.
Fox have seemingly taken their time with this one after hiring the double Black-Listed screenwriter Noah Oppenheim to pen a script shortly after hiring Hardwicke, and it’s unclear whether that will be the same draft that newly announced helmer Wes Ball will direct. Ball’s a total newcomer, but his short film “Ruin” was apparently “an internet sensation” (according to Deadline) earlier this year when it amassed nearly five million hits. Fox recently acquired the short and have now put Ball to work on what could be a pretty big project for them.
“The Maze Runner” follows a teen called Thomas who wakes up with amnesia and soon finds himself in a completely closed environment called the Glade. There he finds around 60 other teen boys who have been trying to escape from the enclosure for two years through a surrounding maze. Things change drastically though when a comatose girl arrives with a strange note. It’s the first book in a trilogy (which would surely become 4 films if the current trend continues) so this could be a lucrative franchise for Fox, providing Ball can deliver. Here’s his short that caused a stir.