Doug Liman’s Chaos Walking has been a long time coming, but this weekend, the adaptation of Patrick Ness’ young adult science fiction bestseller is finally coming to theaters. Yes… for real this time. The movie was initially filmed in Vancouver, Canada back in 2017 with plans to come out in March 2019, until word came in months later that Chaos Walking would be scheduled for additional photography. And since Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley were already tied up with making their respective Marvel and Star Wars movies, the production did not resume until two years following its original shoot.
When we hear stories like that these days, our minds tend to wander toward movies such as 2017’s Justice League, X-Men: Dark Phoenix or Solo: A Star Wars Story, but the fact of the matter is a ton of big-budget films return for reshoots nowadays, and we’re often looking from the outside looking in. When CinemaBlend spoke to Daisy Ridley about Chaos Walking, I asked for her own perspective on reshoots and additional photography. In her words:
To be honest, to be able to do additional photography, you’re already in a really lucky space because basically there’s the budget to do it. I’m sure that there are films where they were like ‘Oh it would be great if we had another day.’ And sometimes the budget is just restricted. I’ve done additional photography on all the Star Wars films and on this, so for me, it’s like, it just is what it is. And I think there’s a really amazing way to take a step back, in between times, and give you a little bit of perspective.
Chaos Walking was working with a major budget of $100 million, which afforded the film the ability to pack up and come back years later. But as Daisy Ridley explained, that’s a luxury for a film to have. When it comes to her experiences on sets such as Chaos Walking and on the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy that wrapped up with 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, she continued by expanding on how she believes additional photography helped them:
And also, a lot of time people have seen an edit and they’re like ‘Oh, you know what would really help this…’ So it ends up being really helpful because you can add things that might help a relationship. We did, mine and Todd’s kiss scene. That was in additional photography and it’s such a sweet moment and really shows the sort of them bridging the understanding of ‘the Noise’ and Viola is like ‘I can deal with this’ and you know, ‘we can go off on this adventure together.’ So I think, usually it’s really helpful.
As you can imagine, there are a lot more gears moving in a big production like Chaos Walking, so stepping back and fixing what you were not able to get the first go-around is a great tool for a filmmaker to use. It allowed Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland to add a pivotal scene to their characters of Todd and Viola, who live amongst "The Noise," a mutation that places male thoughts on display.
Though at the same time, could knowing one has the luxury to come back and fix certain issues is creating a blindspot of urgency for some filmmakers to make a movie truly glisten? The recent Star Wars films (namely The Rise of Skywalker) have been criticized for mechanics feeling like a driving force over its characters.
But then there are moments in Avengers: Endgame, that would not have happened if it were not for the production returning for reshoots. We can thank the “America’s Ass” line to reshoots, along with RDJ’s “I am Iron Man” line. The point is, reshoots do not doom a movie, and in Daisy Ridley's experience, they have been of benefit to the story. Chaos Walking comes to select theaters this Friday, March 5. Check out what the first reviews say about it before you buy your ticket.