Video game adaptations have earned a rough reputation in Hollywood. It’s one of the few genres that seems to flounder on the big screen, and only a few movies have escaped unscathed by the critics. Many reasons exist for this, one of which is capturing the magic and immersion of such a game and playing it out in front of a viewer for 90 minutes. The lack of a controller means the loss of interaction, not to mention many a viewer who will never play the original source material, which leaves a wide loss in translation. To this day, no director or filmmaker has managed to successfully introduce a movie based on a game that has appealed to a mass audience and critics alike.
That could be about to change.
Ubisoft recently revealed a trailer for Assassin’s Creed, one that has gamers and cinema goers licking their lips. Could this be the first blockbuster game adaptation? Only time will tell, but it looks staggeringly faithful to the source material. Not content with the one project, Ubisoft have a second video game property in development: Splinter Cell.
The film was announced back in 2012, and Tom Hardy was signed to star, but a lot has happened in those four years, the major change being Hardy’s rise to super stardom. However, despite the excessive delays, Ubisoft recently confirmed that Tom Hardy is still onboard for Splinter Cell, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
As revealed by Total Film, the former CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures, Jean-Julien Baronnet, mentioned in an interview that many of the same traits make Hardy and Assassin’s Creed star Michael Fassbender ideal for their respective video game adaptations.
“It’s exactly like Tom Hardy with Splinter Cell – we chose Tom for exactly the same reason. Tom is doing indie movies like Bronson and he’s doing Batman [The Dark Knight Rises] or whatever or Mad Max [Fury Road]. So this combination of factors for us was very important because it was a symbol for what we want to do in a movie – which is to do a movie of course that should be mainstream, but with the content we would like to have, so Michael does exactly this kind of stuff.”
She would also praise Fassbender as “the best actor of his generation.” She also credited the actor for finding the right balance between blockbuster movies like Prometheus and independent films like 12 Years a Slave. There’s no doubt that there’s a massive appeal to seeing Fassbender bring Callum Lynch and Aguilar to life. The Assassin’s Creed games became a massive worldwide phenomenon because of the famous dual timelines, and potentially seeing this faithfully transcribed to the big screen has gamers and cinema goers giddy with glee.
As for Sam Fisher, the main character of the Splinter Cell games, the thought of Tom Hardy stepping into his stealthy shoes is a positively exciting prospect should the scriptwriters decide to utilize the character. Aside from the difficulty in bringing a video game to life — after all, games are quickly becoming interactive movies with the current technology available — having the right actor in the right role will make a major difference. Although some game adaptations gain a massive profile on release — Resident Evil, Prince of Persia, and Tomb Raider are a few that come to mind — they can flounder when they don’t meet the expectations of the die-hard gaming fan.
With Hardy now a household name, this could bring Splinter Cell into major development pretty quickly. The Assassin’s Creed movie will no doubt set a precedent if it’s a success, but Splinter Cell has one major trait going for it: Tom Clancy. Despite the author having little to do with the original game development, he endorsed the games in the same vein as Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. Films based on Clancy’s work have gone on to critical success in Hollywood, so this is another factor that could benefit the movie. With Hardy on board, this could be a massive coup for Ubisoft and any attached movie studio.
The Splinter Cell movie has undergone several script revisions since its first announcement, and according to Screen Rant, director Doug Liman left the project back in 2015. Actor and screenwriter Frank John Hughes has been drafted in to put together a fresh script for the adaptation, and this laborious fine tuning, along with the four-year development thus far, is a sign that Ubisoft is not rushing the project.
With Assassin’s Creed scheduled for a December 2016 release, let’s hope Splinter Cell can get the green light and keep Ubisoft’s momentum going.
[Image via Ubisoft]