EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has high hopes that the Patrick Ness young adult novel series Chaos Walking has the potential to become another futuristic Hunger Games-esque franchise. While the mission on most of those book to movie sensations is to stick close to the books, Lionsgate has done an intriguing thing on Chaos Walking: they’ve set Charlie Kaufman to adapt the first book in the series.
The Carnegie Medal winning book is set in a dystopian future with humans colonizing a distant earth-like planet. When an infection called the Noise suddenly makes all thought audible, privacy vanishes, chaos ensues, and a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race. Only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction. Doug Davison’s Quadrant Pictures is producing and I heard that Alli Shearmur will likely board the project as producer as well.
Kaufman seems an inspired choice. His previous adaptations of the Chuck Barris memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and the Susan Orlean book The Orchid Thief (which became the Meryl Streep-starrer Adaptation) took the subject matter into all kinds of imaginative directions not found in the pages of those books.
Kaufman, who just made a deal with Grand Central Publishing to write his own first novel, is separately working on directing his script, Frank Or Francis. It’s a Hollywood satire set to music where a film director feuds with a blogger, and Nicolas Cage, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Catherine Keener, Jack Black, Kevin Kline and Paul Reubens are all circling roles. Kaufman is repped by WME.