Master of cinematic schlock Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers) has revealed in an interview with MTV that his next project will be an adaptation of a video game.
Although Verhoeven refused to reveal the name of the game he is working from (at the behest of the game's maker, who is also writing the screenplay for the film version), he did offer a description of the project, which has led to speculation that it will be the 1997 game The Last Express -- which was done by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner.
Here is the hint that Verhoeven was willing to share:
“[The plot] is situated in 1914. Basically, Indiana Jones-ish you could say, but also Hitchcockian. We are scripting it. It’s an idea that exists already… from another medium, [a video game], and so we are making it now into a film narrative.”
The folks over at /Film have noted that the only game this description seem to fit is The Last Express. Add in the fact that Jordan Mechner wrote the screen story for the upcoming Prince of Persia:The Sands of Time movie (based 0ff the video game of his design), and it sounds like he too is a prime suspect for the mysterious game designer working with Verhoeven on a new project.
That said, here's the official synopsis for the The Last Express video game:
Paris, 1914. The world is on the brink of war and your life is about to change forever. You are Robert Cath, a young American who is urgently summoned by his friend Tyler Whitney to join him on the train departing the Gare de l’Est, Paris, 24 July for Constantinople. Arriving late, you are overcome with the heavy feeling of danger. Something has gone terribly wrong. Before you can grab hold of your senses, the adventure overtakes you, and you are plunged into a world of suspense, romance, international intrigue, and murder.
There are definitely shades of Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes in this description (a film Verhoeven specifically referenced in the interview), as well as some general noir-ish and adventure overtones as well. If The Last Express is indeed Verhoeven's next project, it could well be in the vein of his previous film, the WWII-set suspense thriller, Black Book.
Verhoeven still has a pretty strong cult following amidst moviegoers who enjoy the way his American films marry exploitative popcorn movie elements with bits of social satire and commentary (which is not to say that they're all good -- see Showgirls). The idea of him taking on a video game flick will probably be warmly welcomed by those who enjoy his movies in general.
So what do you think? Does The Last Express sound like ripe material to make the transition to the big screen? Or do you hope Verhoeven is working on a different video game project altogether?
Not much is official about Verhoeven's newest cinematic venture yet, but we'll let you know exactly what it is and whether we'll get to see The Last Express realized as a film after all.