Lionsgate has set Charlie Kaufman to pen the adaptation for The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first book in the Chaos Walking series. The young adult novels have received critical acclaim and have a similar vibe to a certain blockbuster recently released by Lionsgate.
With the popularity of young adult novels both on the shelf and the big screen it is not surprising that many studios are looking through the novels that they have optioned in order to find the next big thing. Lionsgate has had great success with The Hunger Games and now looks to repeat that success with The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Kaufman seems an inspired choice. His previous adaptations of the Chuck Barris memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and the Susan Orlean book The Orchid Thief (which became the Meryl Streep-starrer Adaptation) took the subject matter into all kinds of imaginative directions not found in the pages of those books.
Kaufman, who just made a deal with Grand Central Publishing to write his own first novel, is separately working on directing his script, Frank or Francis.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is set in a future world where females don’t exist. Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
What do you think about the Kaufman adapting the novel? Is it critical for him to stay close to the source material?