While Ubisoft didn’t have a terrific experience on its previous video game-to-movie adaptation Prince of Persia, hopes are high for this December’s Assassin’s Creed, and now a behind-the-scenes video has landed online that gives us a look at the film’s incredible practical stuntwork. Assassin’s Creed began development in a unique way, as Ubisoft first set Michael Fassbender to produce and star before beginning work on a script or assigning a director. This ensured that the talent involved had a heavy hand in putting the film together, and subsequently Fassbender enlisted his Macbeth helmer to direct and set about filling out a swell ensemble that includes Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Michael K. Williams to bring this story of prisoners who live out their ancestors’ lives through new technology to life.
Much about Assassin’s Creed feels unique in the realm of video game adaptations, especially the film’s director, Kurzel. He’s best known for visually striking character-driven dramas, and his touch on the blockbuster genre here could certainly be something special. Indeed, one thing Kurzel wanted to focus on with his jump to a tentpole property was doing as many in-camera practical effects as possible, which includes the iconic Leap of Faith from the video game. So when it came time to shoot the jump for the film, Kurzel and his team opted to do it for real.
In the behind-the-scenes video below, you’ll see Fassbender’s stuntman preparing for the 125-foot drop, and you’ll also see how the crew was able to film it. When I spoke with Kurzel on the set of Assassin’s Creed last year, he stressed the importance of practical effects in the film:
“We’re trying not to cut a lot. We’re trying to shoot the action in camera and try to work with the best stunt people. We’ve got some of the best parkour guys in the world at the moment. We’re just trying not to cheat as much. I think that, some of these films, you can get away with creating an action sequence with continuous cuts. I think we’re trying to, I guess, in an old school way, allow action to play out, and for you to be engaged with the action that’s in front of and the sequences that are in front of you before you’re cutting into them. That takes a lot of time and a lot of discipline … Trying to use the actors as much as possible so that they’re involved and engaged. Just trying to do it in a very honest and grounded kind of way.”
And if all of this doesn’t have you excited, know that Kurzel worked with his frequent collaborator Adam Arkapaw, the cinematographer behind that incredible long shot in True Detective Season 1.
Check out the behind-the-scenes video below. Assassin’s Creed opens in theaters on December 21st.