Director Joseph Kosinski began his career directing commercials, so perhaps it’s no surprise that his two feature films so far – TRON: Legacy and Oblivion – have been visually impressive but lacking in substance. Since the release of Oblivion, Kosinski has been attached to a Twilight Zone movie reboot and has also been developing his own action thriller, but there have been no concrete developments so far.
No it looks like Kosinski might be coming to a genre that would be well-suited to his skill set: a movie adaptation of video game franchise Gran Turismo. Last year saw the release of Need for Speed to marginally profitable box office success; and while Polyphony Digital’s racing game series has even less plot to it than the Need for Speed franchise, it definitely has potential for adaptation into a ninety-minute car commercial.
According to a new report from THR, Kosinski may be the man to bring that ninety-minute car commercial to life. The director is apparently in early negotiations with Sony to direct Gran Turismo, and is developing a new script for the film. The initial script, written by Alex Tse (Watchmen) was said to be about a video game player who becomes a race car driver, but it’s unclear whether Kosinski would stick with that premise or come up with his own.
Sony seems to be investing heavily in video-game-to-film adaptations right now, with movie versions of PlayStation exclusive games Uncharted and The Last of Us also currently in development. This is part of a larger trend of video game companies trying to maintain creative control over their properties as they make the move from one medium to another; in the case of Need for Speed, for example, Electronic Arts was heavily involved in early development.
This isn’t the first time in recent years that Kosinski has pursued a movie about cars and/or racing. At one point it looked like he might reteam with Oblivion star Tom Cruise for Go Like Hell, an account of the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s, but THR says that the project “spun off track” (get it?) and Kosinski is now looking elsewhere to scratch his racing itch.
The fact that the Gran Turismo games have no plot to speak of might actually work in the movie’s favor; aside from having the franchise name tacked on, Kosinski would be more or less free to create his own story, so long as it somehow involves racing cars. We’ve speculated that a transformative approach might be what video game movies really need to succeed as a genre, and there’s always a possibility that Gran Turismo could be a milestone in that respect. Either that or it will be forgotten as quickly as Need for Speed.
We’ll keep you updated on Gran Turismo as development continues.