David Leitch has just signed on to helm the video game movie The Division. Tom Clancy's The Division is an online, multiplayer action game set in the aftermath of a virus outbreak in New York. The virus was spread using paper money on Black Friday, resulting in the deaths of millions and the island being placed under quarantine. Players take on the role of an operative in The Division, which is made up of civilians who are trained to help save what remains of society following a catastrophic event.
The Division was released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and quickly became Ubisoft's best-selling game ever. The game has now earned the company over $300 million worldwide, so naturally a sequel was announced back in March. A movie adaptation of the game has been in development for awhile too, with Stephen Gaghan originally announced as director, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain lined up to star.
Gaghan has since stepped down from directing The Division, and a new report from Variety confirms that Leitch has come onboard to replace him. Leitch is a very busy man; he's just finished Deadpool 2, and before he sets to work on The Division he will be directing the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw. He also recently confirmed he's developing Atomic Blonde 2, the sequel to his spy thriller starring Charlize Theron.
The Division video game isn't really driven by plot or character development, but it's got a great hook, and could make for a unique action movie. Leitch has been in constant demand as a filmmaker since he co-directed John Wick in 2014, so there's little doubt the action will be good. The most intriguing part of the movie's development is the continuing presence of Gyllenhaal and Chastain, who’ve been attached since it was first announced; both actors obviously know a cool concept when they hear it. It also has the potential to be a blockbuster with a little social commentary mixed in.
After years of mostly deserved critical scorn, it seems video game adaptations are getting a little more respect. Netflix's Castlevania series and Rampage both confounded expectations by being genuinely good, and they're currently the rare adaptations with respectable ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. The Tomb Raider reboot was also a fun star vehicle for Alicia Vikander, so perhaps the day is near when the dreaded video game curse will finally be broken.
The Division doesn't currently have a release date, but we'll update you as more information arrives.