Dreamworks Developing MMORPG Movie 'The Defenders'

It has been revealed that Heroes star Masi Oka (the time-traveling Hiro) has come up with an idea for a movie called The Defenders, an idea which has been picked up by Dreamworks for development. The wheels of production for the movie have already started turning, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci on-board to produce, Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) on-board to write the script, and D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) in talks to direct.

In the vein of the upcoming Gerard Butler film Gamer, The Defenders is taking the world of online multiplayer video games and making it into a big-screen adventure. From The Hollywood Reporter comes the following synopsis:

"The story centers on a group of mostly teenagers from around the world who are involved in a multiplayer video game, each unaware of who they really are behind the cover of their consoles and avatars. They are forced to come together for a real adventure, becoming inadvertent heroes in the process."

Apparently, Oka came up with the idea for The Defenders whilst playing MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), sparking an interesting question in his mind - "You can be whoever you want to be... The question came to me: What if you had to live up to the person you created in the virtual world?"

Once Oka learned that Kurtzman and Orci were looking for movies that, "combined an innocence with [the] adventure," he pitched The Defenders idea to the pair. The duo went for it, and whilst honing the idea a bit more, Oka has been collaborating with the duo on it at the same time the Kurtzman and Orci have been working on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Orci commented on the fact that online gaming is like an obsession for some people, and how Oka and screenwriter, Whitta, have implemented that idea. This may shed some light on why he and Kurtzman were so keen on idea for The Defenders:

"People are expecting you to be there and to contribute; it's a team, sort of, even though it's virtual... Masi [Oka] and Gary [Whitta] have put in countless hours in this world and have found a way to make it work for those that don't play the game, but also for the millions that do."

I'm so glad that Kurtzman mentioned that Oka and Whitta are making The Defenders appealing to those who may not indulge in the world of online gaming. Although that will undoubtedly be a prime audience for the movie, it still needs to appeal to non-gamers for it to have any chance of success in today's movie market.

It may just be my love for the character of Hiro that Oka plays on Heroes that's affecting my judgement, but the idea for The Defenders sounds like quite a lot fun to me.  I just hope the most is made of the idea's potential.

Do you like the sound of Masi Oka's The Defenders? Do you like the producing, directing and writing team that's being assembled?

The Defenders is currently in development and does not yet have a release date.

Source: THR

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