The recent trailer for Hitman: Agent 47 marks the start of the next surge of movies based on video games - a genre that hasn't seen much success so far. In an effort to reverse this poor fortune, a number of game studios have been taking matters into their own hands by asserting creative control over movies based on their properties.
EA was heavily involved in the development of last year's street racing action movie Need for Speed, and both Sony and Ubisoft have taken control of their upcoming movies The Last of Us and Assassin's Creed, with Sony distributing the former through Screen Gems and hiring game director Neil Druckmann to pen the script - and Ubisoft launching a new film production studio called Ubisoft Motion Pictures and partnering with New Regency, in order to bring Assassin's Creed to the big screen.
Now Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has announced a "milestone" in the development of Assassin's Creed, which will be directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown). Wired quotes Guillemot as stating during the company's quarterly financial call, "the green light [for Assassin's Creed] has been given by New Regency, and the production has already started."
This is a little confusing, since saying that "production has already started" in reference to a film would normally imply that principal photography has begun, but since there's been no casting news aside from Michael Fassbender playing the main character(s) and Assassin's Creed doesn't arrive in theaters until December 2016, it seems very unlikely that the cameras are already rolling. Guillemot's background is in video games, where "production" has a significantly different meaning than it does in the context of filmmaking, so his statement probably just means that Assassin's Creed is in active pre-production.
The script was originally written by playwright Michael Lesslie and later given rewrites by Scott Frank (The Wolverine) and Exodus: Gods and Kings duo Bill Collage and Adam Cooper, but there's not yet an official synopsis. According to a report from last year, Fassbender will play both a modern day death row inmate called Michael Lynch and his ancestor: an assassin called Aguilar de Agarorobo, who fought against the shadowy Templar organization during the Spanish Inquisition.
Assassin's Creed is one of Ubisoft's most successful game franchises and is heavily narrative-driven in a way that could lend itself very well to movie adaptation. It's certainly promising to hear that New Regency is fully onboard and that the film is green lit, but will Assassin's Creed have what it takes to turn the tide in a historically under-performing genre?
Assassin's Creed arrives in theaters on December 21st, 2016.
Source: Ubisoft (via Wired)
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