‘Chaos Walking’ Finds Screenwriter In Charlie Kaufman

Lionsgate’s newest dystopian acquisition, Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking,” has found its screenwriter. Deadline is reporting that Lionsgate has tapped “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s” scribe, Charlie
, to adapt the first book in the series.

The three novels—”The Knife of Never Letting Go,” “The Ask and the Answer” and “Monsters of Men”—are set on an alien planet inhabited by colonists from Earth who have been infected by something called the Noise that makes all their thoughts audible (and allegedly killed off all the women). The main characters are a boy named Todd Hewitt and a mysterious foreign girl named Viola.

The series has received many awards, with “Monsters of Men” winning the Carnegie Medal. Deadline seems to think that Lionsgate hopes the “Chaos Walking” films will be their next “Hunger Games,” but this series is a lot more science-fiction oriented than their other hit franchise. If anything, the “Chaos Walking” books are closer in content to the “Ender’s Game” series by Orson Scott Card, which fittingly is also being adapted into a movie.

Kaufman is a great choice for this series, and it’s exciting that he agreed to come on board to adapt “The Knife of Never Letting Go.” As he is best known for writing “Eternal Sunshine,” “Adaptation.” and “Being John Malkovich,” the “Chaos Walking” trilogy is definitely bizarre enough to fit with his M.O. He does seem like the perfect person to take this material—which might on the surface seem to be inaccessible to the same wide audience “The Hunger Games” reaches—and give it wider appeal.

Since he is busy working on writing and directing his own film, “Frank or Francis,” it’s unclear whether Kaufman will also be interested in helming “The Knife of Never Letting Go.” Even if he doesn’t, having his name on the project should be enough to draw some high-level talent.