We've been keeping an eye on the movie adaptation of Splinter Cell, the popular stealth espionage video game series that carries the badge of Tom Clancy's name above its title. The game is owned by Ubisoft, a studio which is making a big push into the movie market: along with Splinter Cell, the company is adapting another one of its top-selling game franchises, Assassin's Creed, into a movie starring actor Michael Fassbender.
Not to be outdone with that high-profile casting, we now have word that Splinter Cell has also recruited (no pun) a newly-minted star as its leading man: Tom Hardy, best known for his roles in Inception, Lawless and as masked villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
Variety reports that Hardy has singed on to play Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher, a ninja-like operative working for a Black-ops unit called Echelon. The game series (which has sold 20+ million copies and has a seventh installment, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, due out in 2013) revolves around the various 'impossible mission' scenarios Fisher must navigate, with plenty of backstory and character development filled in along the way. The games' appeal is mainly found in the varied options players have in accomplishing their missions - all of which require a combination of stealth, cunning, resourcefulness and (in a few instances) outright forcefulness.
The script is being written by Eric Warren Singer, who penned the Clive Owen thriller The International, as well as the lauded script for American Bullsh**t, a film about the FBI's ABSCAM corruption case of the '70s and '80s, which has attracted Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell (The Fighter) and a cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams. That's all to say: even if Singer's name doesn't sound familiar yet, it's bound to have some clout behind it by the time Splinter Cell hits theaters.
Ubisoft has been quite vocal about its intent to conquer the video game movie stigma echoing companies like Marvel and taking more active control of its properties and their subsequent movie adaptations. The gaming studio has partnered with Fox for Assassin's Creed; Paramount will co-develop Splinter Cell.
As for Hardy - what is there to say? He's one of biggest breakout stars of the last few years, many moviegoers enjoy him - even if they're still learning to place his name with his face - and he definitely has the sort of charisma to lead an action franchise of this magnitude. He's also already demonstrated onscreen skill in both action and espionage,via his roles in films like Lawless, Inception and of course, Dark Knight Rises. One might rightly point out that Hardy actually played a highly-trained spy in McG's action rom-com This Means War earlier in 2012... but, we'd like to leave that blemish off of an otherwise shining resume, if possible...