WARNING!!! This Interview Contains MAJOR SPOILERS!!!
Hitman: Agent 47 may turn out to be an interesting pivot point in the next big wave of video game movies. Until now, video games have had a poor track record making the jump to feature-film adaptations; what we've mostly gotten were B-movies relying on brand recognition and/or star power in place of creative design or smart storytelling. Worse yet, these lackluster films had little to no connection (or sometimes even resemblance) to the games that inspired them. For every Resident Evil franchise success, there have been a dozen popular gaming properties - Doom, Wing Commander, Prince of Persia, Far Cry - that fans are all too happy to forget exist as movies.
But things are changing. Now, popular games like Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell are getting movie adaptations that are driven by game developers working in collaboration with big movie stars like Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy (respectively) - stars who seem just as interested in cracking the video game movie "curse" as the developers themselves. It's a similar pattern to what happened with comic book movies; in the latter '90s and early '00s we got a certain type of superhero film, before a more serious and ambitious creator-driven approach was taken, resulting in the Marvel and DC movie universes that about to blow wide open in 2016 with films like Captain America: Civil War and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Hitman: Agent 47 arrives somewhere along the cusp of this video game movie evolution; this is the second attempt to adapt the property (after a 2007 film failed to meet expectations), yet it's still a film being driven by filmmakers and a studio not connected or in collaboration with the game developers. So can Agent 47 help usher in the new era of gaming movies with noted improvements over its predecessor? We attended the NYC press junket to speak with stars Rupert Friend (Homeland), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) and Hannah Ware (Boss) about the state of video game movies, and where Agent 47 sequels can take some of the big developments revealed in the film.
WARNING - The video interview above and transcript below contain MASSIVE SPOILERS for Hitman: Agent 47!!!!
I guess I'll start by focusing on you Rupert. Now that you've had a chance to kind of put this stamp and kind of define the Agent 47 character for us without necessarily getting too deep - kind of setting him up as this archetype - where would you like to see a sequel go with this character?
Rupert Friend: I'd like to go more into the ideas that this is someone who can blend in anywhere. And therefore, more disguises, more chameleonic sort of impersonations, more blending in - and then more of this thing of maybe the human traits in this genetically engineered assassin. His greatest flaw and his greatest strength. So yeah, how do you take someone who's been engineered not to feeling anything, who's gone a bit wrong and does feel things, and therefore use that to make him even better.
That's a good answer! Hannah and Zachary, there was a LOT of secrecy surrounding your characters going into this - SPOILERS for anyone [reading] this, we're going to talk about this now. Now that we've met your characters and seen that you both have these kind of big reveals - you (Zach) turned out to be a very powerful villain, you (Hannah) turned out to be a very powerful ally - would we see you guys in sequels to this film, as well? Now that you've built these characters into this mythos?
Zachary Quinto: I always think it's a little bit premature to talk about sequels before a movie comes out. And I think that how the movie does, and how many people go see it and what the response to it is, will dictate a lot about its future - if there is one. It's not called "John Smith," it's not called "Katia van Dees," so who knows? But I feel like it was a great thing to be a part of this far, and we'll see if there's a future for it.
In your case (Zach) I ask because fans are going to be buzzing about this teaser at the end of the movie--
Zachary Quinto: Right.
Where we see you kind of morph into this iconic character from the video game franchise, thereby setting up a rivalry that people may want to see more of in the future.
Zachary Quinto: Maybe! May be! Well they'll have to tell us after August 21st.
I also kind of ask because in some ways the industry is changing. And kind of planning and pre-planning these things is becoming part of it. There were just headlines last month with you (Zach) and the plans for Star Trek maybe going a bit ahead, and recognizing when you have something that you can come back to, and we've talked to multiple actors about that.
Zachary Quinto: Sure.
Do you guys think that video games are poised to be the next big thing? Right now it's kind of the superhero movement sweeping through, but do you feel that (video game movies) will find their own niche and become a growing trend, and that you've maybe gotten in early with something like this franchise?
Zachary Quinto: Well we're not the first movie to be an adaptation of a video game by any means. But um, we were talking about this a little bit before, but the next big thing, to me, feels like all this is converging somewhere in the virtual reality space. And you already have Oculus Rift, and they're advancing these technologies and integrating them more accessibly for consumers; and I feel like video games are already going so much in that direction and now that they're crossing that over into film, I just feel like it's going to meet somewhere in the middle and that's going to be really interesting and uncharted territory.
Just to wrap it up, let's throw one to Hannah: Do you see a future where there will be this movement and interactivity between a movie and a video game as one cohesive experience for the fans?
Hannah Ware: I don't know if I can answer that really, I'm not sure. I don't know; I'm not a gamer. I think that if there are wonderful games like 'Hitman' it's a really interesting game to watch from a non-gamer perspective, and it's been it's been a great platform for our movie. But I just don't know. Yeah. Sorry.
That future is still being written. It's fine.
Hitman: Agent 47 will be in theaters on Friday, August 21st.