Adapting a hit video game franchise for the big screen is always tricky. Case in point, most films based on video games are considered weak in comparison, and even fewer manage to develop into long-standing film franchises (Resident Evil being a notable exception).
So when acclaimed actor Michael Fassbender became attached to produce and star in the film version of popular Assassin's Creed game series, fans breathed a sigh of relief that perhaps - this time, at least - their beloved property would receive the serious, quality film treatment it deserved. Yet, Fassbender's involvement hasn't kept the film from a bumpy road to production rife with writer change-ups and a release date that has already been pushed back several times.
Now, courtesy of IGN, Fassbender has offered an update on the project and addressed rumors that he's no longer involved in the film. Here's what he had to say:
"I love these rumors! It's fantastic. People talk about it, and they're hopefully interested. Nothing has changed, yeah. I'm still a part of Assassin's Creed, and we're working on the script as we speak. Actually, I'm going to go back and see the writers when I get back to Europe."
It's difficult to say exactly what's behind the slow movement on the project, though Fassbender's busy schedule may be a contributing factor. The actor has several films in various stages of development, including his role as Magneto in the X-Men franchise and Prometheus 2. However, whenever Assassin's Creed does happen, Fassbender assures fans that the film will capture the spirit and tone of the games.
"You know, we absolutely want to respect the game. There's so much cool stuff in the game that we're actually spoiled for choice in terms of what we can use and what we can't, but we also want to bring new elements to it and perhaps our own version of things that already exist in the game. But we're definitely making a feature film, and we're approaching it as a feature film, as opposed to approaching it as a video game. But I love the world. I don't really play that many video games, but when I met up with the guys from Ubisoft and they started to explain this whole world and the idea of DNA memory -- you know, I think it's a very feasible scientific theory. I just thought, 'This is so rich,' and about the possibility of it being this cinematic experience. So I'm really excited about it, and we're working very hard to make sure that we've got the best and most exciting, original package."
The games - which take place throughout several different historical eras - would indeed prove a challenge to adapt for any filmmaker, given both the wealth of material and the fact that the central character taps into the memories of his ancestors. This could make a film adaptation more difficult to nail down than in a conventional narrative, but Fassbender maintains that director Justin Kurzel - who was reportedly attached to the film earlier this year and worked with Fassbender on Macbeth - would be a solid choice.
"I just think that there's one thing Justin should be doing, and that's directing. I know that from working with him on Macbeth. He's just fantastic in terms of his vision. Adam, the [director of photography] that he works with, is amazing. They've got a great shorthand; that's essential. He's fantastic with actors and each department. He's a real heavyweight."
Fans may have to wait a bit longer for the Assassin's Creed film to come together, but based on Fassbender's words and his apparent passion for the games' core premise, it sounds like he's determined to make the project work. We've discussed before how much promise lies in the future of video game movies, and Assassin's Creed is certainly one of the more high-profile opportunities to realize that.
Do Fassbender's comments make you confident that the inevitable Assassin's Creed film will be worth the wait? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Assassin's Creed is currently set for release in August 7, 2015. Stay tuned for updates on this project as it develops.