The first look images for 20th Century Fox and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson's The Darkest Minds movie adaptation are now online. Based on the books by Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds is a dystopian sci-fi/thriller series in the same vein as previous young adult novels turned movie franchises like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner, among others. Bracken published four Darkest Minds novels from 2012 through to 2015, at which point Fox picked up the film rights to the property and set Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) to produce a big adaptation of the first Darkest Minds book through his 21 Laps Entertainment banner.
Darkest Minds takes place in a gloomy future where the earth has been ravaged by a plague that left 98% of the world's children dead. While the remaining 2% managed to survive, they subsequently developed superpowers that could pose a danger to not only themselves but those around them. Bracken's novels pick up a number of years after this cataclysmic event, at a point where many of these superpowered children are now teenagers - all of which are kept in internment camps, in order to isolate them and keep them away from the adults who are fearful of them and their abilities.
Amandla Stenberg stars in The Darkest Minds as Ruby, a 16-year old teenager who manages to escape from her internment camp and goes on the run with three of her fellow young adults - in the forms of Liam, Chubs, and Suzume (aka. Zu). On the adult side of things, Mandy Moore (This Is Us) costars as Cate, a kindly doctor who works at the camp where Ruby is kept, aka. Camp Thurmond. Rounding out The Darkest Minds' main cast is Brienne of Tarth and Captain Phasma herself, Gwendoline Christie as Lady Jane, a relentless bounty hunter who is determined to bring Ruby and the others back no matter what. All of these cast members - save for Christie - can be glimpsed in the first look images from the film in the gallery below (as published by EW).
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The teenagers in The Darkest Minds are labeled by different colors (a la terrorism threat levels) that determine how dangerous they are, based on their respective super-abilities. Nelson explained how the color coding system in the film works to EW, revealing that green is the lowest level and red is the highest (designating teenagers who can start and control fire):
“The first one is green, where they show heightened intelligence, they’re super smart. Basically savants. Then you have blues that are able to move things telekinetically. Then there are yellows, which are able to basically short out anything that’s electric. So they’re not good to have around your appliances. Then there are the oranges that are able to control people’s minds. And then the reds …”
Stenberg is no stranger to the world of YA genre adaptations herself, having previously played Rue in The Hunger Games and more recently starred in the teen romance Everything, Everything. The film's other three young protagonists are played by less-established up and comers, including Harris Dickinson (Trust) as Liam, Skylan Brooks (The Get Down) as Chubs, and Miya Cech (American Horror Story) as Zu. Whereas Ruby is labeled an orange for her mind-controlling abilities, Liam is a blue for his telekinesis, Chubs is a green for his super-intelligence, and Zu is a yellow for her electricity-based powers.
Drawing from an adapted script by Chad Hodge (creator of the TV shows Good Behavior and Wayward Pines), Nelson is making her live-action feature directing debut on The Darkest Minds. Although most of her previous experience is in animation - having directed Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3 and worked on the 1990s' animated Spawn TV series - Nelson isn't a complete stranger to live-action; having previously served as a storyboard artist and production illustrator on Dark City. Given her background, the hope is that Nelson will bring something fresh and unique to the table with her own YA sci-fi adaptation, at a time when the genre has become oversaturated and diminished in popularity. A trailer for The Darkest Minds is expected to arrive this week, meaning there will soon be some actual footage to judge in that regard, along with these images.
- The Darkest Minds (2018) release date: Aug 03, 2018