Exclusive: Catherine Hardwicke to Direct Fox's ‘Maze Runner’

James Dashner will adapt the first book in his young adult science fiction trilogy

EXCLUSIVE

"Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke is returning to young adult territory, and this time there are no vampires in sight.

Hardwicke is in early negotiations to direct "The Maze Runner" for 20th Century Fox, the filmmaker's publicist has confirmed to TheWrap.

"The Maze Runner" is the first book in James Dashner's popular sci-fi trilogy, which Random House's Delacorte Press published in October 2009. The author is expected to adapt the screenplay.

The Gotham Group's Lindsay Williams will produce the dystopian picture.

The story follows a boy named Thomas who wakes up in a strange place called the Glade with no memory aside from his first name. The Glade is an enclosed structure populated by other boys, and is surrounded by tall, stone walls that protect them from monsters called Grievers that live in the Maze, which surrounds the walls around the Glade.

Every day, some of the kids who are Runners venture into the labyrinth trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit.

As soon as Thomas arrives, unusual things begin to happen and the others grow suspicious of him. The Maze seems familiar to Thomas, but he's unable to make sense of the place despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. 

When the first girl arrives in the Glade, she brings a message that she will be the last one to ever arrive in the Glade, as the end is near.

"The Maze Runner" series has drawn comparisons to Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy, which Lionsgate is bringing to the big screen under the direction of Gary Ross.

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