Catherine Hardwicke's Latest Young Adult Lit Conquest: The Maze Runner

Teen angst has become something of a vocation for production designer-turned-director, Catherine Hardwicke, best known as the Twilight Saga's first filmmaker. Just think: Without Hardwicke, who made the inspired decision to cast Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, K-Patz might have been K-Ephron (as in Zac, who was also in the running to play Edward). Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

After wrapping up production on "Little Red Riding Hood", The Wrap reports that Hardwicke will take on another teen-centric  literary property, The Maze Runner, the first installment in James Dashner's popular sci-fi trilogy. The film, to be produced by Twentieth Century Fox, will center around a boy who awakens memoryless in The Glade, an alternate universe surrounded by a monster-ridden maze.

The Maze Runner, with its narrative about young protagonists solving puzzles with life-or-death consequences, has often been compared to The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' series in which teens are forced to fight to the death on reality television. "Seabiscuit" writer-director Gary Ross has been working on a big-screen adaptation of Games, due to start shooting in 2011. The Maze Runner has yet to hire a screenwriter (Hardwicke doesn't write her own material), much less nail down a potential start date. But the competition between these two young-adult phenoms will not be decided based upon which film reaches theaters first; but instead upon how well the filmmakers capture the originality and teen spirit of the novels. May the best (wo)man win.

Photo by Deana Newcomb, courtesy of Summit Entertainment.