Of all the video games franchise that Ubisoft could have chosen for its first film adaptation, Assassin’s Creed was probably the wisest choice. The series is a narrative-driven historical sci-fi that hooked players in with its graceful free-running and panoramic views of historical cities – exactly the kind of elements that would translate well into film.
The Assassin’s Creed games are set at various points in history and are based around an ongoing conflict between the Templars, a shadow organization that secretly manipulates world politics, and the Assassins, an ancient order that fights the Templars’ control by killing its ringleaders in violent public displays. X-Men actor Michael Fassbender is set to produce and star in the adaptation, which is being directed by Justin Kurzel (Macbeth), and now Assassin’s Creed has added another name to its cast.
Deadline reports that newcomer Ariane Labed has been cast in Assassin’s Creed alongside Fassbender and his Macbeth co-star, Marion Cotillard. Labed appeared in Richard Linklater’s 2013 romantic drama Before Midnight, and more recently graced audiences at Cannes with her role in Yorgos Lanthimos’ sci-fi romance The Lobster. She will play the role that Alicia Vikander was in talks for before scheduling conflicts led her to turn down the film.
Labed is a Greek-born French actress, and her casting combined with the German-Irish Fassbender and the French Cotillard makes this a very European cast indeed, which is certainly reflective of the source material. Of the Assassin’s Creed games released so far, two were set in Italy, one was set in Constantinople, another was set in France and this year’s upcoming release, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, is set in Victorian London. Kurzel himself hails from Australia, but shot his last film in the UK.
Nothing is officially known about the plot of Assassin’s Creed so far, other than the fact that it will be an original story and not a direct adaptation of any of the games. A 2014 rumor claimed that the film will be set during the Spanish Inquisition, but this has not yet been confirmed. The script was written by British playwright Michael Lesslie, with later rewrites by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures is co-producing Assassin’s Creed with New Regency and filming is set to begin in September this year, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer before the rest of the cast comes together and we see a hint of what to expect from the film.
Assassin’s Creed arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016.