With the success of Harry Potter, Twilight and now The Hunger Games series, the race is on to find the next young adult book series that will become a surefire billion dollar movie franchise. Sony is attempting to get into the game by acquiring the rights to The Mortal Instruments series and also reportedly setting up Allen Zadoff’s Boy Nobody as a starring vehicle for Jaden Smith. However, based on what they already did with The Hunger Games, I would put all my money on Lionsgate and whatever they decide to focus on next. According to Deadline, it looks like their next big franchise will be the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness, but here’s the weird part: they just hired Charlie Kaufman to write the first movie.
Much like The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Chaos Walking Trilogy is set in a dystopian world, but it takes place on another planet referred to as New World. An indigenous alien species called the Spackle releases a virus that kills all human women and introduces “the Noise,” a virus that allows humans to see and hear each others’ thoughts. The ensuing chaos pushes them to the brink of war, unless young Todd Hewitt and a mysterious girl named Viola can stop it.
Charlie Kaufman will adapt the first book in the series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, but no director has been named as of yet. Clearly Kaufman is an intriguing choice, and we all know that his take on Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief turned into something completely different (ie. the movie Adaptation). However, you’d think that Lionsgate would want him to remain pretty faithful to the source material at the risk of alienating fans. It’s also worth noting that Kaufman did a rewrite on Kung Fu Panda 2, so he’s not above taking writing gigs for a paycheck. What do you think, does this news surprise you and are you more likely to check out the Chaos Walking movies based on Charlie Kaufman’s involvement?