Edgar Wright is about to tackle some dark material.
The filmmaker, who has built his career making frequently comedic genre exercises, is going to direct a film adaptation of The Chain, author Adrian McKinty’s bestselling novel about a mother whose daughter is kidnapped. Jane Goldman, whose credits include films like Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and more, will write the screenplay, making this the first time Wright will direct a film that he isn’t writing.
Deadline broke the news about Wright’s new movie project, revealing that Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to The Chain after Paramount failed to secure the rights nearly a year ago. Here’s how they describe the plot:
The Chain tells the story of Rachel, who learns that her 11-year-old daughter has been kidnapped. The only way to get her back is to kidnap another child. Her daughter will be released only when that next victim’s parents kidnap another child. If Rachel doesn’t kidnap another child, or if that child’s parents don’t kidnap a child, her daughter will be murdered. She is now part of The Chain, a terrifying and meticulous chain letter-like kidnapping scheme that turns parents from victims into criminals. The book tells Rachel’s harrowing story as victim, survivor, abductor and criminal. What the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. But what they don’t know is that in Rachel they have finally met their match, as she is smart and tough enough to have survived a bout with cancer and is determined to break The Chain while getting her daughter back.
Wright, whose previous feature directing credits include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The World’s End, and Baby Driver, seems to be on a quest to push himself out of familiar zones and into new different territory as a filmmaker. His next movie, Last Night in Soho, is described as a psychological thriller, which sounds totally unlike anything he’s made before. And now he’s tackling The Chain, another thriller that sounds much darker than any of his previous work.
It’s also worth noting that Last Night in Soho marked the first time Wright collaborated with a female screenwriter (1917‘s Krysty Wilson-Cairns); for this film, it currently seems as if he’ll cede the writing entirely to Goldman. I wouldn’t be surprised if those two end up sharing writing credit by the time the movie is finished, but as it stands now, this is shaping up to put Wright into a whole different mode. We’re big fans of his at /Film, and I’m very curious to watch this next step in his career.
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