[WARNING: This post contains potential SPOILERS for the Warcraft movie.]
Director Duncan Jones' 2009 indie sci-fi Moon was a fascinating debut film and an impressive achievement on a low budget. Jones' follow-up, Source Code, had a much larger budget and a considerably broader scope, and now he has moved into a truly epic universe with his upcoming video game adaptation, Warcraft.
The film, which wrapped principal photography just over a week ago, is based on the video game which spawned the wildly popular and immensely lucrative World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), the various iterations and expansions of which are still being developed. This first film is said to draw its storyline from the first installments of the series, which followed a war between orcs and humans.
Plot details have trickled down in the past few months, with Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) stating that despite the high fantasy trappings, the film will actually tell a very human and relatable story. Now, Cooper's castmate Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) backs up Cooper's assertion about the relatively serious themes of Warcraft, while speaking about the character he's playing.
Foster recently spoke to IGN about his role, which is straight out of the game's universe. According to Foster:
"The character in 'Warcraft' that I play is named Medivh. He's a mage, which is essentially a sorcerer. He came up in a time protecting an area, and the way he protected this area was through magic. As peace returned to this land he took a break. He hung up his staff, so to speak, or let his guns get dusty. We meet him as his friends are returning asking for his help in a battle."
Medivh first appeared in Warcraft I, and from Foster's comments it sounds like the film's plot could be quite close to that of the first few games, given that Foster's character's involvement was predicted in a report by Bleeding Cool. Still, in the game universe, Medivh was a guardian against the forces of the Burning Legion, but was possessed by a demonlord and used in an attempt to conquer the land of Azeroth. This version of the character appears to adhere to his morally complex nature.
Foster went on the praise his director's vision for the film, echoing previous sentiments from Cooper as well as Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull. Foster stated:
"What's exciting about Duncan Jones' take on this video game is that it shows both sides of the war. It shows both sides of a conflict, which is exciting to me. It's not just a video game turned into a movie. It's asking, hopefully, an important question of, where do we limit our compassion for what we consider to be the bad guys?"
Foster also had some glowing comments in regard to the effects work by Industrial Light & Magic, specifically the motion-capture work. Foster remarked:
"The way that they're pushing motion-capture - I just saw some of the test footage - it's unlike anything I've ever seen. It's performance-capture. It pushes it to the next level. It's going to be one helluva 3D event."
While Foster's character will not be digitally rendered, he said that some of the other characters who he interacts with will be. He went on to say that "there are a lot of different kinds of creatures in this picture that I interact with."
While we do not yet have any confirmation of who the rest of the cast will be playing, it may be safe to assume at this point that Vikings star Travis Fimmel is taking the role of warrior Anduin Lothar, but what of co-stars Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow) and Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol)? Brown may well be taking the role of Khadgar, a powerful wizard who is also Medivh's mentor.
With a highly praised director and a cast of talented character actors, Warcraft is poised to be one of the slate of upcoming video game adaptations (like Assassin's Creed) that are striving to push the genre into the realm of commercial and critical success. With HBO's Game of Thrones seeming to prove that a fantasy setting with mature themes can pull in a crossover audience, will Warcraft echo that success on the big screen?
As the film is now wrapped and entering its lengthy post-production period, expect more plot details, as well as some early looks at the character design to surface soon.
Warcraft will opens in theaters on March 11th, 2016.