It’s not a given that video game film adaptations will, in fact, be the next big thing in Hollywood, but it won’t be for lack of trying on the part of studios. One such project in development is Deus Ex, a big screen take on the cyberpunk series that Sinister writer/director Scott Derrickson and co-writer C. Robert Cargill were recruited to work on a couple years back. However, Derrickson has left the project to go direct Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange instead, and the Deus Ex movie is getting a new script.
Derrickson and Cargill’s Deus Ex movie, judging by how they’ve described it in the past, wouldn’t have been based on any specific storyline from the video game; rather, the pair seemed more interested in the property’s sci-fi concepts and philosophical question (transhumanism issues, and so on) raised by its dystopian, futuristic setting. In other words, they weren’t approaching the project as a video game adaptation, but as a “cyberpunk movie” on its own terms.
Will Predators screenwriter Michael Finch take the same approach? According to THR, he’s been recruited by CBS Films to write a fresh script draft for the Deus Ex movie, not so long after he co-wrote the Hitman video game movie franchise reboot, Hitman: Agent 47, which arrives next year. By the sound of it, Finch will probably be giving the screenplay a full-blown makeover, in order to attract a replacement helmsman for Derrickson.
Finch, who also co-wrote the Pierce Brosnan CIA thriller The November Man (which arrives next month), specializes in plot/action-driven storytelling, more so than the character oriented and/or atmospheric variety. That is to say, it would be surprising if his Deus Ex script were to wind up more philosophical than Derrickson’s and Cargill’s draft, seeing how the latter pair were envisioning the film as a more aesthetically-realistic Blade Runner, so to speak – for better or worse, that is.
Nonetheless, a Deus Ex movie (if done right) could do a much better job of covering the same thematic territory as that featured in the sci-fi thriller Transcendence from earlier this year. Indeed, that will be key with upcoming video games films in general, be they Indiana Jones-esque Uncharted or Assassin Creed‘s mashup of historical and sci-fi elements – if the source games are treated with respect, the film adaptations could easily turn out great (and lead to that video game movie renaissance that we’ve been hoping for).
We’ll keep you updated on the status of the Deus Ex movie.