When fans of the video game series picture Trevor Belmont in a Castlevania movie, the face that springs to mind is probably not that of Channing Tatum. The Netflix Castlevania showrunner, Adi Shankar has been discussing the recently released anime adaptation of the long-running Konami series. Along the way, he had discussed what might have happened if the live action Castlevania movie had been produced as planned.
Many movie adaptations of video games have been terrible, and when Shankar produced Castlevania, he wanted to do justice to the story as a fan. Shankar believes that “those who don’t view video games as an art form are on the wrong side of history.” According to an interview with Mic, he believes that video games are often doomed to terrible movie versions because video games have a “complex language” that is learned by gamers as they play them. Some movie producers have played the games “as research, but you can’t learn the appeal.” The 32-year-old also believes there is a “massive generational divide” between audiences and those currently adapting the video games into movies.
To a certain extent, Netflix’s Castlevania anime also had that problem since the much older Warren Ellis wrote the script. Worse, Ellis had never played Castlevania before he was tasked with the job, and he ended up Googling Castlevania to find out what it’s about.
“The awful truth is that I’ve never played or even seen the game. Terrible, isn’t it?” Ellis admitted to Wired. “What immediately struck me was how it initially appeared, to me, at least, to be a Japanese transposition of the Hammer Horror films I grew up with and loved. I’m sure that’s a completely wrong-headed perception, by the way.”
Fortunately, Konami employees, especially Koji Igarashi, forced Ellis to rewrite the script five times before they were certain the Castlevania TV series experience would be authentic to the video games. The world dodged that stake with the anime version, but it sounds like other production companies wanted to suck the Castlevania intellectual property dry.
Shankar recently told Anime News Network that back in 2012, he was approached by another group that was not associated with Netflix. The showrunner had played most of the games, and he was adamant the series needed to be adapted in a certain way. Unfortunately, not everyone shared that viewpoint.
“I was told, for example, that Trevor Belmont had to be American and that Channing Tatum was my front runner,” Shankar explained. “I walked away from what would have been a lucrative deal for me financially because I was a fan, because of my personal relationship, and because I didn’t want to massacre my childhood.”
The showrunner passed on the opportunity to produce a live action Castlevania movie largely because he felt the group wanted to leverage the “pre-existing brand awareness” associated with the title, rather than create an authentic Castlevania movie. Hopefully, if there is another opportunity to create a live action Castlevania, then someone like Shankar will be leading the charge.
[Featured Image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]