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YA Update: ‘The Maze Runner’ Coming Valentine’s Day 2014; Mark Waters To Direct ‘Blood Sisters’

YA Update: 'The Maze Runner' Coming Valentine's Day 2014; Mark Waters To Direct 'Blood Sisters'

After a directorial change-up was announced in August with “Twilight” helmer Catherine Hardwicke being replaced by Wes Ball, the fate of the dystopian teen franchise “The Maze Runner” was unclear. But now, Fox has stamped a Valentine’s Day 2014 release for the as-of-yet unfilmed project, based on the first in author James Dashner’s sci-fi trilogy about adolescent boys trapped in an ever-changing maze. The premise never struck us as being particularly romantic in the way young adult fare generally is, but maybe there’s more to this maze than meets the eye. Or maybe Fox plans to stock this maze full of dreamy, steamy young bucks and lure the high school bachelorettes in.

Meanwhile, we thought vampires were dead and gone, having been slowly phased out of relevance by zombies and witches, but apparently Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”, “Spiderwick Chronicles”) is making a last-ditch effort at post- ‘Twilight’ vampire revival by directing “Blood Sisters,” the first in a series of six “Vampire Academy” books written by Richelle Mead. The director’s brother, Dan Waters, will write the screenplay. Dan’s writing credits include “Batman Returns” and “Heathers,” so both halves of the duo have contributed to some classic teen-targeted material. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can bring the edge of “Mean Girls” and “Heathers” to a fantasy series.

According to Variety, the story of “Blood Sisters” is set at St. Vladimir’s Academy in Montana and centers on Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old half-human half-vampire, or “dhampir,” who must guard the Moroi race of peaceful mortal vampires from the Strigoi, a race of bloodthirsty immortal vampires. Sounds like more of the complex hierarchical structure and backwoods U.S. setting that have become conventional for the genre, so we’re hoping (faintly) for some surprises once more information emerges.

Zoey Deutch (“Beautiful Creatures”) and Australian actress Lucy Fry are attached to play the two female leads, Rose and Lissa, while Russian actor Danila Kozlovski will play someone named Dimitri. Production begins this summer.

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