Chaos Walking reshoots

Chaos Walking, the film adaptation of Patrick Ness’s young adult book trilogy, has been in development since 2011. Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) and actors Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland came on board in 2016 and it started filming the next year, with an intended release date of March 1, 2019. As you may have noticed, that date has come and gone and the film still hasn’t hit theaters.

Now we know why. According to a new report, the film was “deemed unreleasable” in its initial form, and after spending $100 million already, Lionsgate is now spending millions more on three weeks of reshoots. Yikes.

The Wall Street Journal published a piece about Lionsgate’s financial troubles, and the situation is not looking good for Chaos Walking, which “turned out so poorly it was deemed unreleasable by executives who watched initial cuts last year, according to current and former employees.”

The story takes place in the future, on a distant planet called the New World which has been colonized by humans. Something called “the germ” has seemingly wiped out all of the women on the planet, and an infection called the Noise has totally eliminated privacy: the men and boys can hear what everyone else is thinking at all times. A young man named Todd Hewitt (Holland) stumbles across the first girl he’s ever seen (Ridley), and eventually┬árealizes that he may be the only one able to stop the planet’s destruction.

According to the WSJ report:

Lionsgate delayed the film’s planned March release and is about to begin three weeks of additional production, at a cost of millions more, in the hope that new scenes will improve its commercial prospects. “We wouldn’t be shooting more if we didn’t think we could make this movie work,” said Mr. Feltheimer.

Reports about reshoots can sometimes be framed as worrisome, often for no reason. Many reshoots are planned well in advance and built into Hollywood production schedules to allow the filmmakers some time to assess what they already have and fine-tune moments that still need work. Marvel movies do this all the time, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens took advantage of its reshoots to revamp the relationship between Rey and Finn. But sometimes, reshoots actually are deserving of worry.

And as The Playlist notes, Liman has earned something of a notorious reputation for his troubled productions: the first Bourne movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow, and more. So despite the killer casting of two of Hollywood’s hottest young actors, it’s not super surprising that there are issues with Chaos Walking. (He’s previously told us that he likes to discover his movies while he’s making them.) Here’s hoping these reshoots are able to salvage the project into something watchable. The movie is now aiming to be released sometime in 2020.

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