‘Mass Effect’ Film Adaptation Gets New Screenwriter

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 2:02 pm,

Mass Effect Movie New Writer Foehls Mass Effect Film Adaptation Gets New Screenwriter

It’s been a long time since the Mass Effect adaptation from Legendary was brought up in conversation, and a recent report may indicate why. It seems the original script treatment penned by Mark Protosevich is being tossed aside, and relatively unproven scribe Morgan Davis Foehl is being brought in as the new writer.

He may seem an unlikely choice to successfully bring the videogame trilogy to the big screen, but his previous credits are a potential sign to fans that the film is moving in the right direction.

As Variety reports, Legendary is now bringing in Morgan Davis Foehl, an assistant editor-turned-writer who has yet to see one of his scripts make it to the screen. Foehl has experience as an assistant editor on FX’s Rescue Me and the Adam Sandler comedies I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Click. Foehl isn’t completely new to the writing game, having written a script for Alien Sleeper Cell from District 9 producer Bill Block.

While Foehl’s writing credits are slim, the reception to his work has been promising. Since Alien Sleeper Cell is being developed largely independently, it’s Foehl’s script (based on a pitch by Felipe Linz) that’s being used to sell the film to studios. Little is known about the project, besides the fact that it blends alien invasions with the tension of Matt Damon’s Bourne series. Foehl has also penned the script Whatever Gets You Through The Night, a thriller built around the son of a mob lawyer that earned a spot on 2009′s Black List of unproduced screenplays.

Mass Effect 3 Live Action Trailer Mass Effect Film Adaptation Gets New Screenwriter

Add in his one-shot from Image Comics, City of Refuge, and current job adapting Top Cow’s comic Crosshair (following a suburban father who’s been programmed by the CIA to assassinate the President) and Morgan Davis Foehl seems to have a handle on the interstellar action and thrilling espionage that a Mass Effect movie would likely require. Fans of the game will be happy to hear that it was Foehl’s knowledge of the Mass Effect series along with his previous credits that earned him the job from Legendary, but we wouldn’t expect this to mark a sudden increase in updates or details on the film’s status.

The creative minds behind the science fiction trilogy always maintained that a Mass Effect film wouldn’t be fast-tracked solely for profitability’s sake, even if that meant stalling production until the right talent and script was in place. Even Legendary Pictures claimed to be interested in bringing the property to the big screen for its emphasis on strong characters and compelling story more than brand recognition.

Exactly what the story would focus on has proven to be a contentious issue, with scriptwriter Mark Protosevich (Jurassic Park IV, I am Legend ) and the studio seeming to be in disagreement over the plot. Protosevich claimed the script would honor the plot of the games and not feature a completely new story. What Foehl’s hiring means for the fate of Protosevich’s treatment is unclear, but it will be a pleasant change for fans to hear some positivity around the Mass Effect name.

The finale to Commander Shepard’s inter-galactic war against a race of machines, Mass Effect 3, released in March to conflicted reception. While hailed as one of the most polished and refined games of the year by critics, it was the writers’ perceived fumbling of the story’s conclusion that sparked online petitions and cupcake-drives (easily the most delicious form of protest we can think of). The developers even modified and expanded the ending in response to the criticism, so we can understand why Legendary is taking their time - Mass Effect fans are nothing if not devoted.

Mass Effect Movie Script Change Mass Effect Film Adaptation Gets New Screenwriter

Don’t look so sad, Shepard, your movie’s still in the works.

Morgan Davis Foehl’s involvement could mean a completely new approach to the adaptation, but we won’t know for sure until either he or Legendary make an announcement. We’ll keep you updated when they do.

What do you think of Legendary’s decision to go with a less proven writer over Protosevich’s larger resume of films still in production? Think the Mass Effect movie should involve as much spy thriller as alien action? Sound off in the comments.


Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Variety

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  1. I know a lot of Mass Effect fans are really excited about the prospect of a Mass Effect movie moving forward. However, I also know that a lot of the same fans were really disappointed to hear that it was being written by Morgan Davis Foehl.

  2. I’ve been wondering what was going on with the Mass Effect movie! Really happy to hear it’s still being developed and more importantly that the studio is taking its time. It can make one hell of a movie trilogy (LOTR in space!) if done right. Hopefully the writer understands the scale and grandness the movie needs to be. And Legendary needs to cough up a big budget to make it the grand spectacle it deserves to be! And Matthew Fox for Commander Shepard! Woo! :D

  3. Please have Seth green and Brandon keener reprise there role. Please have Seth green and Brandon keener reprise there role. Please have Seth green and Brandon keener reprise there role.

  4. Matthew Fox?

    Warren Christie from “Alphas” would be a lot better choice……

    The film hopefully will be like LOTR even though I’m not a fan I don’t think a 120 mins could fit in the whole mass effect story.

    Seth Greens is a must & so is Yvonne Strahovski

    • and Brandon keener is a must too! He is to Garrus what Petter cullen is to optimist prime. you can not replace the voice actor and expect to do the character justice! Garrus’s voice work and prime’s voice work is what makes that charracter that character! No one else can pull it off!

  5. All I ask is that they don’t try to cram in the whole mass effect trilogy into a two hour long movie. Much better (and more profitable I might add) if they made the movie itself into a Trilogy.

    UNLESS however they decide to go with completely new story in which case I think that they can do whatever they want so long as it has enough recognizable characters to keep the fans interested.

  6. will this be live action or like the stupid animation that Beowolf had?

  7. Okay this is gonna be awesome!! I loved the mass effect trilogy!

    Seth green Yvonne need to play there respectable roles.

    As for shepherd.
    Femshep- lyndsy fonseca
    Maleshep- how bout the guy who played Shane on walking dead.

  8. Okay. First thing’s first. I need Femshep. We need more strong female characters. Especially a strong female fighter/Sci-fi figure.

    I NEED ME SOME BRANDON KEENER. All voice actors and face actors that can be brought over to the movie need to be brought over or you’ll disappoint the fans. Yvonne needs to play Miranda. Samara’s face actress has already proved herself by cosplaying her. Seth Green needs to play Joker or his fangirls (and boys) will probably go crazy.

    Don’t try shoving all of it into one movie. You have enough fanbase and high names like Seth Green, Martin Sheen, etc. that you could do it and gain fans from outside the video game base. Oh god I need this movie like oxygen.

    • I hope they use Fem Shepherd but I have a feeling they won’t. I thought Jennifer Hale was a much better voice actress then Mark Meer.

      • in earlier news they confirmed that it will be male Shepherd.

      • ME TOO! All my friends think I’m crazy though.
        But really I felt that the guy sounded too whiny at times. especially when he was trying to sound tough.
        Fem shep on the other hand gave a good job of laying the verbal smackdown, and making every word of it sound true.
        I think if she told me that she was gonna rip my spine out and shove it down my throat, I would believe it.

    • yes…what else can I say. This so much!! thank you

  9. At least it’s not Damon Lindeof.

  10. I think that Joss Whedon should direct and script this movie and Seth Green MUST be Joker. But I’m not keen on the look of Brendan Keener as Shepard, though Matthew Fox is a good idea. Truly, as long as they stick to the Mass Effect story as per the game then they can’t really get it too wrong.

  11. I’m unconcerned with past credits if the screenplay is spectacular.

    We like Mass Effect because we love the characters, story, and feel.

    Thus, the first movie ought to adapt that story and those characters in a way that works for the screen. Game of Thrones is a good example: the show tells the same story as the book, but plays to the dramatic strengths of the television form and diversions from the story are small and relatively insignificant. Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings is another good example, as others have mentioned.

    I’m also rooting for Brendan Keener as Garrus and Seth Green as Joker.
    Not to get ahead of ourselves, but should the first one be good enough to merit a sequel, there’s no reason Carrie Ann Moss shouldn’t be Aria or Yvonne Strahovski play Miranda (since her face was used for the game!).

  12. I am a big fan of the games and was one of them that was disappointed with the ending ( even after extended cut as well ). I am very unsure about this whole project. Even though they say they are taking their time, I feel like it’s just a money grab.

    I don’t see the point of making a film that fallows the story of the games. The game played out like a movie and the game players are too attached to their Shepherd and how they played out the story.

  13. why not use male/shep in the first and have him die in the ending and post credits resurrect him as fem/shep ? nice twist i think and then have the fans vote which shep gets to be in the third? your welcome Hollywood!

    • Absolutely dreadful(simons voice) that idea is exactly what not to do

  14. they shouldnt make this based on mass effect 1 instead they should stick to thier original guns and make this movie something no ones seen before, including ME fans themselves. i wouldnt want to see a movie that i already know whats gonna happen. feel like ill be watching cinematics for ME1

  15. The movie will certainly have Male Shepard. I know a lot of people are routing for a FemShep but it simply wouldn’t make as much money. And that’s what any studio cares about the most. Period.

    I’m a bit apprehensive at this point about a movie adaptation. Sure, it could be great. It also could be awful. What works in a video game won’t work in a movie, and video game – movie transitions have a very bad history.

    If it is to be done well, they really need to get Shepard’s casting right. Personally I think Liam McIntyre (from Spartacus: Vengance) would be the best choice. He’s got the look, the charisma, and isn’t that big of the star to send the budget sky-high. If they want someone more high profile, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans).

    On a side note, they should keep the alien voice actors, bring in Seth Green for the Joker, and get Andy Serkis (Gollum) in charge of the motion capture. I wouldn’t mind seeing a cameo of Mike Meer or Jennifer Hale either.

    • it would have to be as epic as avatar i feel, in order to be successful. will they even have the budget for that? if not then im not sure it will work out. it might turn out like Avatar:the last airbender (the movie) and not Avatar by James cameron. movies with teh same name, ones the best and one is the worst.

      aria should definetly be played by Carrie Ann Moss, and so on and so forth as the comments before me have mentioned. it will be weird to see a different voice play my beloved garrus or joker if they choose to not go in that direction.

    • Three words:
      The Hunger Games.

      Two more words:
      Tomb Raider

      Wait… Here’s a couple more:

      Resident Evil.

      One more:

      There is no guarantee that a male Shepard is going to be more successful, and if recent history is any indication especially in this genre, female leads are especially coveted. Personally, I think Shepard at all is a HUGE mistake, but maleshep especially will just destroy too much of what makes Mass Effect so special in the first place.

  16. I hope they pick the real Shepard they based Shepard on…
    Mark Vanderloo.

    • You ever heard Mark Vanderloo speak? It will RUIN your view of Commander Shepard if you play with standard male Shepard.

  17. What about Paul Walker for male shep? Matthew Fox is also a pretty good suggestion.

  18. Personally I hope that the movie will never make it to the public…

    Why?? The whole plot of Mass Effect needed three games with 60-70 hours gameplay to finish…with all the decisions you made…can never ever be packed in a movie – even if it is 3 hours long. This will be a great critisism point for every gamer who will watch the movie.

    And second, and this is really going on my nerves. And just another reason why I hope this movie will never become reality.
    Most people love to play the female Shepard. Just take a look at the official Bioware Forums.
    But no, it can’t be that there in an Actionmovie like Mass effect will be a female shepard, who will get the girl and save the Universe. Yes, I am honest. I am a lesbian and proud of it and I will ignore every flame this thread will have for me right now.
    no, it always have to be men who save the universe or the world. I am sick of it.
    Even here in Germany we are much more open to homesexuality than in the states…
    the time is right for a female hero besides Lara Croft.

    so I hope this movie will never come true.

    • sorry, I didn’t wanted to insult anyone with my comment about the homosexuality in the states and in Germany…I just wanted to point out some facts..

  19. Give me female Shepard and I’ll give you audience