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The curious case of Chaos Walking

Ed Willey

As I write this it’s Tues 9th July and I’ve just stumbled across a film called Chaos Walking.

This is unusual, not only because the film stars a few actors I quite like, Tom Holland (Spider-man), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Mads Mikkelson (Rogue One, Doctor Strange), and falls under genres I enjoy, sci-fi-action-thriller, but because the film was due out 1st March 2019.

So what’s going on? Surely this should be a home run for Lions Gate?

Based on the best selling ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy of books by Patrick Ness, the movie tells the story of the first book in the series ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’.

Set in a men-only colony on a distant planet called “New World”, everyone can hear the thoughts of every other person and animal, making life a little chaotic, and referred to as the ‘Noise’. When one man, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland), comes across a patch of silence in the world, he discovers a woman Viola Eade (Daisy Ridley). Now believing not everything is as it seems the pair go on the run from the colonies mayor David Prentiss (Mads Mikkelson) in an attempt to discover the truth about the strange planet they inhabit.

Sounds like a solid enough plot, right?

Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley on set in Chaos Walking
Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley on set in Chaos Walking

Directed by Doug Liman (Jumper, Edge of Tomorrow), the screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman, Jamie Linden, Patrick Ness, Lindsey Beer, Gary Spinelli and John Lee Hancock. That’s six people with writing credits, getting worried yet?

The film shot for four months in late 2017, between August and November, in Canada, Scotland and Iceland, with everything seemingly running pretty smoothly. And with a release date of 1st March 2019, that should’ve been plenty of time to get visual effects wrapped up and the movie edited ready for general consumption.

A trailer for the movie has still not been released.

According to the Wall Street Journal, buried in an article about issues within Lions Gate, the first cut of the film was such a mess it was branded “unreleasable” by those that saw it. Having already spent around $100 million on this potential new sci-fi trilogy Lions Gate was reluctant to let the efforts go to waste and ordered 3 weeks worth of reshoots to attempt to course correct the movie.

Mads Mikkelson on set in Chaos Walking
Mads Mikkelson on set in Chaos Walking

These reshoots were announced back in April 2018, but due the huge rise in demand for the two leads scheduling became a nightmare and the pair wouldn’t get back in front of the cameras for Chaos Walking until April 2019, almost a year and a half after principal photography originally wrapped. The concern within the studio now is that the two young stars will have aged since originally filming their scenes so cuts between the two sets of footage may become jarring if not handed very carefully.

All this brings us pretty much up to date. The movie has no release date to speak of, but rumours say that Lions Gate may finally attempt some sort of closure by bringing the movie and it’s stars to San Diego Comic-Con next week. Maybe a trailer is too much to hope for?

Will we ever see what remains of this movie? I’m now more interested than ever to see how it turns out, and that means they have at least 1 guaranteed ticket on opening day.


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