So maybe vampires just weren't Catherine Hardwicke's thing, because she certainly has nothing against fantasy franchises. After a less than enthusiastic response to her adaptation of the bloodsucking romance Twilight, most of us were probably not expecting her to tackle another fantasy property any time soon. But I think we may have jumped the gun a bit, because The Hollywood Reporter announced that Hardwick has signed to direct a feature film adaptation of James Patterson's Maximum Ride series.

The best-selling novels center on a headstrong 14-year-old named Maximum Ride, and her group of human-avian hybrids known as The Flock. There were five books in the series and they all pretty much focus on "The Flock working towards protecting the world from domination by mysterious figures". But, according to THR, the film will focus on the group as they learn to fly, escape some laboratory-house where they're being held and "are pursued by a pack of creatures called the Erasers that are part human and part wolf."

Don Payne (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) is already at work on a script, but so far no leads have been cast ... though, for Hardwicke, it will probably come as a bit of a relief that this particular casting process probably won't have the same level of scrutiny as that other young-adult series. James Patterson (who is also serving as executive producer) has already hinted that that there are plans to make two more films from the series -- so let's just hope that this time Hardwicke gets to stick around for the sequel.

Maximum Ride is scheduled for release in 2010.