Lionsgate, a leading global entertainment company, announced today that it has obtained worldwide rights to develop, produce and distribute films based on the award-winning, best-selling and critically acclaimed Chaos Walking young adult novel trilogy by Patrick Ness. The announcement was made by Lionsgate's co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake. Doug Davison (The Departed, How to Train Your Dragon, The Grudge) will be producing through his Quadrant Pictures.
The Carnegie Medal winning books are set in a dystopian future with humans colonizing a distant earth-like planet. When an infection called the Noise suddenly makes all thought audible, privacy vanishes in an instant. In the ensuing chaos, a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race, and only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction.
"Although these stories are set in a critical time in the future, they speak volumes about what is happening all over the world today, and about the power of young people to challenge the status quo and change the course of our future," said Alli Shearmur, Lionsgate's President of Motion Picture Production and Development, who will be overseeing the production for the studio, with Senior Vice President of Motion Picture Production Jim Miller. "We feel privileged to be bringing these powerful and exquisite books to cinematic life."
Critics have hailed the trilogy, which is published by Candlewick Press in the US and Walker Books in the UK, as "one of the outstanding literary achievements of the present century," (The Irish Times), and described it as "furiously paced, terrifying, exhilarating and heartbreaking," (The Sunday Telegraph). The Guardian's Lucy Mangan recognizes the series' gripping quality and broad appeal, saying "I would press the Chaos Walking trilogy urgently on anyone, anyone at all."
But The Wall Street Journal makes the most apt reference given that the series has found a home at Lionsgate, noting that "With its dark tone, violence, and readerly fanaticism, the book belongs firmly beside Suzanne Collins's work." Lionsgate is also the studio behind The Hunger Games, based on Collins's worldwide bestselling trilogy of the same name.
"A sense of urgency and momentum permeates these stories- it makes the books ones you can't put down, and will make the movies ones you can't miss on the big screen," said Drake of his decision to acquire the adaptation rights. "But apart from the story elements, the world in the stories is so vividly imagined. These are books, much like The Hunger Games, that we feel truly beg to be brought to life on film."
The rights deal was negotiated for the studio by Rob McEntegart, the Motion Picture Group's Senior Executive Vice President, and for the author by his agent Michelle Kass of Michelle Kass Associates in London and attorney Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson in LA. Robert M. Melnik, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs for Lionsgate, negotiated Davison's producer deal with attorney Rick Genow.
Trilogy Awards and Accolades
The Chaos Walking trilogy has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and won numerous medals and honors in the US and the UK, where Ness - an American citizen - lives. They've won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the James Tiptree Junior Award, the Costa Children's Book Prize, been named on Amazon.com and Publisher's Weekly's lists of the Best Books of the Year, and all three titles have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, with "Monsters of Men," the final volume, winning in June 2011. The Carnegie Medal is a particular distinction with past winners including "Watership Down," by Richard Adams, "The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman, and "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Last Battle," by C.S. Lewis. no_fiml|Chaos Walking marks the first time in history that every entry in a trilogy has either won or been shortlisted for the prestigious honor.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown. But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets. Or are there? Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible. Prentisstown has been lying to him. And now he's going to have to run.
The Ask and The Answer
Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode . . .
Monsters of Men
Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge.
About Author Patrick Ness
Bestselling and award-winning novelist Patrick Ness was born in Virginia, USA, and spent his upbringing in the states of Hawaii, Washington and California. He has lived in London since 1999. He is the author of a novel and short story collection for adults, but is best known for the Chaos Walking trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
The trilogy has won every single one of the UK's biggest children's writing prizes: the Carnegie Medal, Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Costa Children's Book of the Year Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. In addition, all three books in the trilogy were shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal (with Monsters of Men winning in July 2011), marking the first time that has ever happened.
Ness' new stand-alone novel, A Monster Calls, was released in the US in September 2011.