Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley are used to releasing satisfying, tentpole blockbusters. Holland’s latest film, Avengers: Endgame, is about to break box office records. However, a film the duo are starring in, Chaos Walking, was reportedly recently deemed “unreleasable” by Lionsgate insiders.
Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) directed the adaptation of Patrick Ness‘ popular YA sci-fi series, and production has been troubled from the start. The film somehow started shooting way back in August 2017, and was initially slated to hit cinemas in March 2019. But a trailer was never released, which signalled trouble, and now the film is unlikely to arrive before 2020.
Lionsgate have ordered at least three weeks of reshoots. An insider at the studio told the Wall Street Journal that the film “turned out so poorly it was deemed unreleasable by executives who watched initial cuts last year”.
Jon Feltheimer, the studio’s CEO, still believes the project can be saved: “we wouldn’t be shooting more if we didn’t think we could make this movie work”. A major reason for the reshoots is to make the film more commercially viable.
Unfortunately, Liman has experience with this sort of thing. He was essentially kicked out of the editing room of The Bourne Identity and was subsequently fired from the franchise. Of course, the series went on to be a huge success, proving that post-production woes don’t always equal a disaster. Liman also oversaw another reportedly “troubled” production with Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
It’s understandable that Chaos Walking is having a hard time making it to the big screen. The novel is a dystopian sci-fi tale where there are no women, and all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. That’s tough to adapt! And is perhaps a reason why the film now has six credited writers, including Charlie Kaufman.
How Liman and co. plan to pull this off is unknown but very intriguing. The film certainly has potential if done right, but there’s also a chance it’s a noble and ambitious disaster. Both versions would be worth watching.
Don’t expect much more Chaos Walking news for a while though. With all those reshoots, the film has a long way to go before being ready for cinemas. Even a 2020 release might be pushing it at this point.