Robert Zemeckis Courted For Charlie Kaufman-Penned YA Adaptation 'Chaos Walking'

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by Drew Taylor
September 10, 2013 6:00 PM
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Last year Robert Zemeckis made his long overdue return to live-action filmmaking with "Flight," a drama that had something of a bumpy ride creatively, but wound up making a whole lot of money on a very small budget (especially for the director of elaborate, effects-driven rollercoasters like "Back to the Future" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"). Now, Zemeckis looks like he's being pulled back into the world of mega-budget fantasy, as Lionsgate is lining up the director for "Chaos Walking," a new YA adaptation being penned by "Being John Malkovich" scribe Charlie Kaufman.

"Chaos Walking" is the first adaptation of a trilogy of young adult novels by Patrick Ness, which take place in a dystopian future where humans have colonized an Earth-ish planet, one that is infected by something called The Noise, which makes all thought audible. Talk about our worst nightmare (actually our worst nightmare involves snakes, forget it). Of course, in such a society, the capacity for privacy evaporates and chaos takes root. Trippy.

This scenario seems appropriately weird for Kaufman, who won an Academy Award for his work on "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and last worked on the screenplay for "Kung Fu Panda 2." For a while it looked like his sophomore effort as a writer/director (after 2008's somewhat impenetrable "Synecdoche, New York"), "Frank or Francis," was going to get off the ground, but it looks like that's stalled. So now, it appears he is turning his attention to something really strange that he can also make money on.

Earlier this summer it was announced that Zemeckis was adapting best-selling mystery "The Execution of Noa P. Singleton" (by Elizabeth Silver), with Zemeckis potentially directing, and that Focus Features would work with him on developing Nathaniel Halpern's script "Rose," about a woman who physically refashions herself after another woman (which Zemeckis would likely not direct).

It's exciting to have Zemeckis back in the fantasy world once again; in terms of these types of things, there are few who do it as well as him. Plus, the fact that he's working from a Charlie Kaufman script just sweetens the deal. We just hope that he doesn't have any cockamamie ideas about how he can turn this into one of his motion capture puppet shows. We're still recovering from Tom Hanks' hauntingly dead eyes in "Polar Express."

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