Young Adult Novel “The 5th Wave” Takes Battle to the Big Screen

A powerhouse cast led by Chloë Grace Moretz (“If I Stay”), Nick Robinson (Jurassic World”), Ron Livingston (“The Conjuring”), Alex Roe (upcoming “Rings”), and Liev Schreiber (“Salt”) stars in Columbia Pictures’ adaptation of Rick Yancey’s bestselling novel “The 5th Wave,” the first book in his planned trilogy.

A powerhouse cast led by Chloë Grace Moretz (“If I Stay”), Nick Robinson (Jurassic World”), Ron Livingston (“The Conjuring”), Alex Roe (upcoming “Rings”), and Liev Schreiber (“Salt”) stars in Columbia Pictures’ adaptation of Rick Yancey’s bestselling novel “The 5th Wave,” the first book in his planned trilogy.

In the film, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

Yancey’s book was published in 2013 to critical and popular acclaim, with over 20 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The second book in the trilogy, The Infinite Sea, met with similar acclaim and success, with the third book, The Last Star, set for release next year.

“It’s hard to put this book down once you start reading,” says Tobey Maguire, who produces the film with Graham King, Matthew Plouffe, and Lynn Harris. “Rick’s writing is wonderfully cinematic and he has managed to write a version of an alien invasion that feels like it hits all of the classic science-fiction tropes while remaining grounded in a way we haven’t seen on screen before. The idea that the invasion happens in waves in order to pick apart civilization felt both unique and universally relatable. The loss of electricity, disease, earthquakes, tsunamis — these are fears that are really part of modern life right now. That immediately sets it apart from a lot of science fiction fantasy.”

Producer Graham King says that though the exciting elements of the film will attract audiences, it is the heart of the film that will immerse them. “There’s an element to it of an alien invasion, there’s a threatening element as they’re taking over the planet, but the core of the film is really the breakup of one family and how they put it back together,” he says.

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“The story has all these incredible elements, but the thing that put it over the top for me was that it was set in a very understandable reality with a lead character that we all know,” says Plouffe. “At the start of the story, our hero, Cassie Sullivan, is the girl that sits next to you in high school and lives in Anytown, America.”

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One reason for the book’s popularity is the way that it crosses over from young adult fiction to adult fiction, and from sci-fi to general fiction. Author Rick Yancey says that the book focuses on the universal themes that we all face. “All my books, not just `The 5th Wave,' have to do with what makes us human,” comments Yancey. “The thing that really appealed to me about this story was, when everything else has been stripped away, what are we left with? What are the important things? In the 21st century, we now have so many trappings, with so much technology, that take us one-step back from the human connection. In `The 5th Wave,' all those things are taken away, and each character confronts in their own way, how do I deal with this new world? What are the things that really matter? What am I willing to sacrifice to have those things? Plus, it’s a thriller, it’s a survival story, it’s a story of people trying to prevail under nearly impossible odds, and it’s a love story too, about love in all its permutations.”

Plouffe says that he knew that The 5th Wave was not going to be your usual alien invasion story from the very first page. “Rick opens the book with a quote from Stephen Hawking about how if aliens come to Earth, it’ll be much like Christopher Columbus discovering America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” Plouffe recalls. “With that, I knew from the beginning that there was something a little different about this. It felt sophisticated and knowing from the get-go.”

Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 20, 2016, “The 5th Wave” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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Movie Info

The 5th Wave
Action | Adventure | Sci-fi

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