With movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Divergent, and The Maze Runner on the way, the horizon shows no shortage of post-apocalyptic young adult novel adaptations. Now we’ve got yet another one, only this time, the apocalypse is caused by an alien invasion. (We’re not going to bring up Ender’s Game here.) Sony is producing an adaptation of Rick Yancey’s hit The Fifth Wave, and they’re bringing in director J. Blakeson to make it his second feature.
Blakeson is best known for writing and directing 2009’s solid crime thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed, starring Gemma Arterton and Eddie Marsan. He also wrote the screenplay for the horrid The Descent: Part 2, but we’ll just pretend that was a fluke. He’s been attached to the thriller Bad Blood and Trouble with Bradley Cooper, as well as an adaptation of the surprising indie sci-fi bestseller Wool by Hugh Howey. But it looks like The 5th Wave will definitely be next on the docket.
On board to produce are Graham King (The Departed) and Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man), neither of which is particularly known for their work on young adult films, but they’re both well established in other genres. The screenplay will be written by Susannah Grant, whose career is as atypical as anyone’s. Her career began co-writing Disney’s Pocahontas, and continued to include Andy Tennant’s fairy tale romance Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Steven Soderbergh’s biographical drama Erin Brockovich, and the series A Gifted Man, which she created for CBS.
There is definitely enough talent behind the scenes, and the source material is just as strong. Yancey’s novel was published in May of this year, a departure from his Alfred Kropp and Monstrumologist series. The novel begins after 99% of humanity was destroyed by four waves of off-planet alien attacks. They destroyed technology, caused coast-crushing tsunamis, unleashed an avian virus, and, finally, started taking over human bodies, pod-people style. Just before the fifth wave is set to begin, the heroine of our story, 12-year-old Cassie, is on the hunt for her brother Ben, who was taken away with others. She teams up with the too-perfect teenager Evan after he ends up saving her life.
The book has been praised for raising the stakes on typical young adult fare, though Yancey uses some of the same tactics in telling his story, making it easily comparable to the adaptations listed in the first paragraph. Unsurprisingly, this is the first book in a planned trilogy, and Sony is certainly hoping they can milk at least two more movies out of this deal. And if Blakeson can utilize the same skills he brought to Alice Creed, then Sony can probably rest easy.
Below you’ll find a series of trailers for Yancey’s book, which lay the plot out a little more.