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Hollywood Insider Chaos Walking, Tom Holland, Nick Jonas, Daisy Ridley

Photo: ‘Chaos Walking’/Lionsgate

Peter Parker and Rey VS. Dr. Hannibal Lecter and a Jonas Brother

Set in the near future on a planet called “The New World”, ‘Chaos Walking’ consists of multiple settlements that only inhabit men and creatures after women had become extinct due to a viral outbreak caused by biological warfare. The same outbreak would infect all men and living creatures with the “noise.” A term created by author Patrick Ness that describes how all men and creatures hear and perceive each other’s thoughts through unfiltered, straight truth and almost hallucinogenic images, words, and sounds. Heartthrob Tom Holland (‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ ‘The Impossible’) portrays a boy named Todd Hewitt, who lives in Prentisstown, run by cruel mayor David Prentiss portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen (‘Hannibal,’ ‘The Hunt’). 

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The motive of the film arises when Hewitt comes into contact with the first female presence on The New World named Viola, portrayed by Daisy Ridley (‘Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,’ ‘Peter Rabbit’) who miraculously crash lands onto the planet ahead of incoming new settlers. The rest of the film plays out in an adventure and tyranny as Hewitt teams up with Viola as they seek out peaceful settlements for refuge and a cure for the “noise” against the evil mayor Prentiss and his son David “Davy” Prenstiss Jr., portrayed by Nick Jonas (‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’). 

At only 24 years old, Tom Holland has curated his film persona to be incredibly witty, fresh, and youthful. His films’ experience with a younger audience makes him quite perfect for a dystopian adventure such as ‘Chaos Walking’ with a young, innocent-minded boy as the lead character. While still containing violence and language, this film, like other younger audience directed dystopian thrillers such as ‘The Hunger Games,’ ‘Divergent,’ ‘Maze Runner,’ and so much more are marketed towards an audience that expects that need for attractive, youthful actors and actresses. A requirement that is also perfect for 28-year-old Daisy Ridley, who has experience in an adventure as Rey in the massive franchise, ‘Star Wars.’ Mads Mikkelsen’s addition balances the age limit for his expertise in more adult-oriented material but let us not forget; the man’s face is incredibly intimidating and placing him in a role as a man cruel enough as David Prentiss…well, it’s quite perfect. And Nick Jonas, well he’s as fresh as can be and to experience his acting in a role that will have him challenge his “mean” side after his long run of comedies with films such as the ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ it truly makes me anticipate what he comes up with. 

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To see a world without women and experience a man’s thoughts (even a dog’s thoughts) unfiltered, I am excited, to say the least. Because a world without women would be so incredibly desolate and sad. Add that with the awful truth of what men are perceived to think daily…I am intrigued. 

The Men Behind Dystopian Thriller ‘Chaos Walking’ 

Directed by Doug Liman, ‘Chaos Walking’ is an adaptation of Patrick Ness’s sci-fi trilogy and short story companions to the trilogy called ‘Chaos Walking specifically, Ness’ 2008 novel ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go.’ A line in the first book of Ness’ series, ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go,’ explains the meaning of the title: “The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” Our minds are brutally truthful and existentially wild, problematic, and even breathtakingly beautiful, but for these thoughts to be transported unfiltered to everyone and everything at any point of time, well, that is genuinely chaos. 

In 2011, Charlie Kaufman (‘Anomalisa,’ ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’) wrote the first draft of ‘Chaos Walking’ before Jamie Linden (‘Dear John’), John Lee Hancock (‘The Blind Side,’ ‘Saving Mr. Banks’), Gary Spinelli (‘American Made,’ ‘Impulse’), Lindsey Beer (‘Sierra Burgess Is a Loser’), and finally ending with Christopher Ford (‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ ‘The Clovehitch Killer’) and contribution from the author himself Patrick Ness’ revised the screenplay for the final time. 

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Liman’s most familiar past directorial pieces include ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ ‘The Bourne Identity,’ ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith,’ and ‘Swingers.’ Liman’s last directorial work before ‘Chaos Walking’ was with two episodes of the second season of 2019’s YouTube original drama series ‘Impulse’ starring Maddie Hasson (‘God Bless America’), Sarah Desjardins (‘Into The Grizzly Maze’), Enuka Okuma (‘Rookie Blue’) and more. His most recent feature film was for January 14, 2021, HBO Max release of ‘Locked Down’ starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Dirty Pretty Things’), Anne Hathaway (‘Les Misérables,’ ‘The Devil Wears Prada’), and more. Between his time of directorial work, Liman worked on multiple projects as executive producer for TV shows such as ‘Nightflyers,’ ‘Pearson,’ ‘Suits’ and most recently 2020’s ‘Don’t Look Deeper.’ 

A Decade of Work

The journey to the official release date for ‘Chaos Walking’ has not been gentle nor easy coming. The screenplay drafts beginning in 2011 and filming starting in 2017, starting to the official finish, have taken a decade. Lionsgate postponed the initial release on March 1, 2019, for reshoots from an inadequate response at a test screening in 2018 that ended up costing them $15M. The reshooting process to even begin taking more time due to the cast’s heavy scheduling with Tom Holland’s shooting of ‘Spider-Man Far From Home’ and Daisy Ridley’s ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’.

Audiences have been expressing their excitement for the film and anticipation to see the novel adaptation come to life. As with most novel to film adaptations, there comes risk in success as some have proven to fall through the cracks while others soar miraculously, such as with ‘The Hunger Games’ adaptations.

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‘Chaos Walking’ set at PG-13 (suitable for most audiences) will enter theaters and IMAX on Friday, March 5, 2021. AMC is still maintaining seat capacity restrictions and COVID policies such as keeping distance and wearing a mask. If you plan to see ‘Chaos Walking’ in theaters, mask up, sanitize and enjoy a dystopian sci-fi thriller decade worth of work! 

Where To Find The Stars

Still, in the pre-production stages, Liman’s next project is ‘Live Die Repeat and Repeat’ starring Tom Cruise (‘Top Gun,’ ‘Jerry Maguire’) and Emily Blunt (‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ ‘The Devil Wears Prada’), a follow up to his 2014 film ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ Tom Holland will soon be seen in Anthony Russo and Joe Russo’s February 26, 2021 release of ‘Cherry’ alongside Ciara Bravo (‘A Teacher’), Jack Reynor (‘Midsommar,’ ‘Sing Street’), and more. Daisy Ridley can be heard as a voice actress in Luis Antonio’s 2021 video game release ‘Twelve Minutes’ alongside Willem Dafoe (‘Spider-Man,’ ‘The Florida Project’) and James McAvoy (‘Filth,’ ‘Atonement’). Mads Mikkelsen will next be seen as Gellert Grindelwald’s recast in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3‘, with filming to begin July 15, 2022. While still in the process of pre-production, Nick Jonas is expected to be seen in Pierre Morel’sBlacksmith’ alongside Laurence Fishburne (‘The Matrix,’ ‘Contagion’).

By Isabella Brownlee

Click here to read Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

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