Film studio Lionsgate released a trailer for Chaos Walking, an upcoming SF film based on Patrick Ness’ 2008 YA novel, The Knife of Never Letting Go. The movie, which stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland, was scheduled for theatrical release on Jan. 22, 2021, but it’s possible this could change, given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic; the new trailer offers no firm release date.
In the novel, 12-year-old Todd Hewitt lives in a human colony on an alien world. All the residents are male, and everyone’s thoughts are broadcast, so that everyone can hear them (a phenomenon called “Noise”). It’s the result of germ warfare waged by an alien race, which killed all of the human colony’s women—or so Todd has always been told. After he and his dog happen upon a girl in a swamp whose thoughts he can’t hear, everything he thinks he knows about the past is thrown into question. In 2008, Kirkus’ reviewer wasn’t impressed with the novel: “Attempting to address adolescent angst, information overload and war, Ness ends up delivering merely noise.”
Ness co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming film, which appears to age up the main characters; he previously adapted his Kirkus-starred 2011 middle-grade book, A Monster Calls, for a 2016 movie starring Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver. Chaos Walking is directed by Doug Liman, who also helmed the hit 2002 movie version of Robert Ludlum’s 1980 spy thriller The Bourne Identity.
Ridley gained fame for her star turn as Rey in three Star Wars films, but she also appeared as the title character in a movie version of Lisa Klein’s Shakespearean YA novel Ophelia last year. Holland will soon star in a film adaptation of Nico Walker’s 2018 novel, Cherry, which is scheduled for release on Apple TV+ in 2021. Chaos Walking also features David Oyelowo, Nick Jonas, Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen, and The Outsider’s Cynthia Erivo.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.