Gary Ross heads for Neverland with Peter and the Starcatchers

By Liza Foreman - LOS ANGELES ( – “The Hunger Games” director Gary Ross is coming on board to direct “Peter and the Starcatchers” for Disney, a spokesman for the director told TheWrap on Monday. A prequel of sorts to the story of Peter Pan, the film is an adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novel. Jesse Wigutow is finalizing a script.

The story follows a group of young boys, sent to work for a king, who find themselves on a fantasy pirate adventure. The boys discover a box of celestial magic that gives special powers to anyone that comes into contact with it.

Filming is expected to begin in 2013, based on a script delivery date of October.

Ross recently dropped out of directing the sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” citing time constraints needed “write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.”

“Peter and the Starcatchers” was published by Disney’s Hyperion label in 2004 and adapted into a Broadway show this year. The film version has been in the works for some time: Disney hired Jay Wolpert in 2005 to write a 3D version of the script.

A second Peter Pan project is in the works at Sony, where Gavin O’Connor is set to direct “Neverland,” scripted by Bill Ray.

Deadline first reported the news.

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