Chaos Walking is a story that plays on an oft dreamed about superpower: what if you could read the thoughts of other people? Be careful what you wish for though with that one. There sure seems to be a lot more downside to knowing what’s going on in the heads of those around you.
Such is (part of) the case with Chaos Walking, Patrick Ness’s young adult trilogy. The books explore a fascinating concept: a world in which everyone can hear the thoughts of all living things around them. This thing called the Noise has an unknown origin and also had the incredible downside of killing off all the women in the world and making the remaining men basically nuts. Rough.
The series is now (finally) getting a theatrical turn with some high profile names attached. Let’s take a look at what we already know about Chaos Walking.
Chaos Walking Has Some Big-Time Leads
The book that kicks off the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go, follows Todd Hewitt, a teenager who may have found his way out of the Noise. Tom Holland will play Hewitt and had originally been pegged to star all the way back in 2016. Some scheduling conflicts, among other things that we’ll get to, were an issue, but ultimately Holland is set to star in this one as a kid who’s struggling to free himself of the chaotic world.
Along the way, Hewitt meets Viola who somehow is A: still alive and B: able to block out the Noise. She’s played by Daisy Ridley, making Chaos Walking her first starring role after wrapping Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The timing wasn’t supposed to work like that, but alas, here we are. Again, we will explain the reason for all this very soon.
Rounding out the cast of Chaos Walking is a rather eclectic group with folks like Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, Mads Mikkelsen, Cynthia Erivo and David Oyelowo. That is quite the talented roster for this sci-fi adaptation.
Who Is Behind The Camera?
Doug Liman is the director of Chaos Walking. If his name does not sound familiar to you, you will definitely recognize the numerous rewatchable movies he has directed over the years. Recently it’s films like American Made with Tom Cruise, but the rest of the resume has Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity, and Swingers.
Sure, it trends a little more action-heavy but that’s still a pretty wide range. His films are high energy, tight, and enjoyable on multiple viewings. It’s reason to get excited for him to get his hands on a super-imaginative and high-level story like Chaos Walking. Like with Edge of Tomorrow, he’s shown that he can handle something that could have been a confusing mess and turned it into something pretty awesome.
But now we have to talk about the script. This adaptation of Chaos Walking has been in development for an extremely long time. Things started off well with the brilliant Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of a Dangerous Mind, and many other existential works) penning the first draft back in 2011. But he left the production back in 2014. Since then, the project has gone through multiple iterations. Jamie Linden took over after working on the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks book, Dear John.
And there are other noteworthy names attached to the script for Chaos Walking. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Snow White and the Huntsman) has a credit on the finished version and there are even others who have worked on the script. This much time and this many names attached to a script usually isn’t a great sign. It probably means there have been disagreements, massive rewrites, and much more. It’s unclear how much the final draft even resembles Kaufman’s original take on the material.
This leads us to…
Chaos Walking’s Development Hell
Like we have said, the adaptation of Chaos Walking has been kicking around Hollywood for almost a decade now and has so many names attached who’ve moved off the project (Robert Zemeckis was the original director) that there’s some reason for concern about the final product.
Originally, the movie was slated to come out in March of 2019 but as Screen Rant reported, the film needed to undergo massive reshoots because the early cuts were “unreleasable.” Uh-oh. Some of the delays were due to casting conflicts, but this is still a troubling sign for the film.
But they made it through the mire and apparently now have a film that is, in fact, releasable.
When Can You Finally See Chaos Walking?
After a crazy amount of time, we finally have a firm (fingers crossed!) release date for Chaos Walking. January 22, 2021 is the date it will take to the big screen and we’ll finally lay eyes on a film many years in the making.