Doug Davison to produce YA novel adaptation

Lionsgate has bought feature rights to the “Chaos Walking” trilogy of young-adult novels by Patrick Ness.

Doug Davison will produce through his Quadrant Pictures.

Stories are 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 in an instant, and in the ensuing chaos a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race.

“A sense of urgency and momentum permeates these stories — it will make the movies ones you can’t miss,” said Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group prexy Joe Drake of his decision to acquire the adaptation rights. “But apart from the story elements, the world in the stories is so vividly imagined. These are books, much like ‘The Hunger Games,’ that we feel truly beg to be brought to life on film.”

The rights deal was negotiated for the studio by Rob McEntegart, the Motion Picture Group’s senior exec VP, and for the author by his agent Michelle Kass of Michelle Kass Associates in London and attorney Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson in L.A. Robert Melnik, exec VP of business affairs for Lionsgate, negotiated Davison’s producer deal with attorney Rick Genow.

Lionsgate is in post on “The Hunger Games” and plans to make Suzanne Collins’ futuristic trilogy into four films. Lionsgate acquired feature rights in March 2009; Nina Jacobson is producing at her Color Force banner with Jon Kilik.

Lionsgate has set a March 23 release date for the first “Hunger Games.” Gary Ross directed and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth star.

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