Director Doug Liman has amassed a varied list of film and television credits since breaking out with the 1996 indie film Swingers. Liman followed that up with the cult favorite Go before graduating to big-budget studio fare with franchise-starter The Bourne Identity.
While his two previous features, the 2008 film Jumper and real-life espionage tale Fair Game (2010) failed to connect with audiences, Liman is returning in a big way with sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow, which stars Tom Cruise and is already getting some great early reviews.
Such strong advance notices and his solid action-movie chops made the news that Liman was signing on to direct the big screen adaptation of Ubisoft's Splinter Cell video game series an exciting prospect. Unlike countless other similar high profile projects, this one appears to moving stolidly forward, with Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) set to star as series protagonist Sam Fisher, with (last we heard) Up In The Air screenwriter Sheldon Turner taking over script duties for American Hustle scribe Eric Warren Singer.
With Edge of Tomorrow set to debut next week, Liman spoke to IGN about this version of the celebrated stealth game, which evidently has plenty of input from the movie's star. According to Liman:
“I’m working on the script with Tom Hardy. I think we have a great take on how to make an awesome film out of that.”
Liman conceded that Hardy is definitely playing a younger version of Sam Fisher, an operative with the fictional "Third Echelon," a top-secret black-ops sub-division within the NSA. Within the game's universe, Fisher was born in 1957 and, after joining the Navy SEALS, was attached to the CIA in the mid-1980s. According to Liman:
“Everything about 'Splinter Cell' will be younger. It’s a chance to come up with a new franchise that is fresher and newer and younger, and Tom Hardy is such an incredible actor.”
Liman was also asked about whether or not Fisher's signature Multi-Vision Goggles would make an appearance, and his answer is a signal that the film will take the game's core elements in a somewhat different direction. According to Liman:
“Some of the tropes of the game will for sure be in the film, but also the fun of that is when you lose them. To strip that stuff away and really make the character have to operate without it.“
Will long-time fans of the game series accept such changes to the game's mythology? A stealth game like Splinter Cell may prove uniquely suited for a film adaptation, given that while the storyline will likely be updated, the more cinematic aspects of the gameplay could successfully translate to the big screen.
Like Ubisoft's upcoming Assassin's Creed adaptation, the combination of a charismatic star, a gifted director, and the built-in audience of a popular franchise may prove instrumental in lifting video game movies to a new level of critical and commercial success. Stay tuned for more details on the Splinter Cell adaptation as they become available.
Splinter Cell is currently in development.