The PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain features a Noir-style narrative in the vein of David Fincher’s serial killer flick, Se7en. Who better than to write the cinematic adaptation of the game than the man responsible for arguably television’s most famous crime serial and gritty western series, David Milch?
Unique Feature heads Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne bought the rights to Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain last year and have now recruited Milch to turn the game – which some argue is almost more an interactive movie than anything else – into an actual film.
Variety says that Unique Features and Warner Bros. are fast-tracking development on Heavy Rain, which Milch will begin scripting once he’s completed work on his latest HBO creation – the horse race gambling series, Luck. Milch was also the brains behind ABC’s long-running police procedural NYPD Blue, as well as the acclaimed but impressively foul-mouthed HBO period piece/western, Deadwood, and the channel’s well-received but short lived relationship drama, John From Cincinnati.
Heavy Rain is a macabre, psychological thriller that revolves around the Origami Killer, a mysterious murderer who abducts his victims and kills them after four days by drowning them in heavy rainfall, always leaving a calling-card in the form of a folded paper structure. The game follows everyman Ethan Mars as he attempts to save his kidnapped son before it’s too late – while at the same time, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, investigative journalist Madison Paige, and the private eye Scott Shelby strive to find clues that will allow them to discover the Origami Killer’s true identity.
Most fans praise Heavy Rain for its combination of a sinister yet engaging serial killer plot with fully-developed and engaging characters that could easily be expanded upon for a film adaptation. Having the likes of Milch onboard is all the more encouraging since he not only has a solid background when it comes to handling this sort of material, but also excels at scripting almost poetically harsh dialogue and creating multi-layered roles that a good actor or actress can really sink their teeth into, so to speak.
The literally dark and dreary atmosphere that pervades throughout Heavy Rain also lends itself to a filmmaker with a sharp eye for gloomy visuals and cinematography. While Fincher is an obvious option to helm the project, he’s already lined up to tackle 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea after he finishes work on his next crime investigation drama, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Milch’s involvement with Heavy Rain alone should help attract the attention of other high-profile directors.
Last year, Disney turned Prince of Persia into a less than stellar but overall harmless big-budget summer popcorn flick. Oscar-nominee David O. Russell at least has a creative vision for his Uncharted adaptation, which fans may eventually begin to warm to – and now a writer of Milch’s caliber is working on the Heavy Rain screenplay as well. Could Hollywood be reversing its trend of turning popular console game titles into movies with mediocre to undeniably poor results?