Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has high hopes that the Patrick Ness young adult novel series Chaos Walking has the potential to become another futuristic Hunger Games-esque franchise. While the mission on most of those book to movie sensations is to stick close to the books, Lionsgate has done an intriguing thing on Chaos Walking: they’ve set Charlie Kaufman to adapt the first book in the series.

The Carnegie Medal winning book is 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, chaos ensues, and a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race. Only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction. Doug Davison’s Quadrant Pictures is producing and I heard that Alli Shearmur will likely board the project as producer as well.

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. It’s a Hollywood satire set to music where a film director feuds with a blogger, and Nicolas Cage, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Catherine Keener, Jack Black, Kevin Kline and Paul Reubens are all circling roles. Kaufman is repped by WME.

For all of Deadline's headlines, follow us @Deadline on Twitter.