GEARS OF WAR Adaptation Missing A Few Cogs, Being Scaled Back

     April 6, 2010

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Video game film adaptations have a knack for spinning their wheels. Even sprawling and successful adventures like Bioshock and Halo, which seem ripe for a cinematic retelling, get bogged down in production hell despite having enormous talent attached. The latest large-scale video game adaptation to stall is New Line’s Gears of War, which, according to the LA Times, may be in search for a new director and writer, while also dropping off a hefty budget and its lofty scale.

Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard, Underworld franchise), who is still attached to direct the project, has been attached to another film called Nocturne, which is set up at Fox. That film, penned by Red Dawn writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore, is described as an apocalyptic thriller and will be garnering Wiseman’s attention, leaving his role in Gears up in the air. Additionally, New Line is looking for a new writer as they are scaling back the epic nature of the film that screenwriter Chris Morgan (Wanted) had provided, with character touches by Billy Ray (State of Play).

For what all of this news means, and what the future holds for Gears of War, hit the jump.

gears_of_war_xbox_360_image.jpgFor those a bit confused on what Gears is all about, here is the synopsis provided by the LA Times:

“In the Gears video game, main character Marcus Fenix leads a human group charged with protecting the fictional planet Sera from a pernicious enemy called the Locust Horde. Fenix is a former prisoner and soldier who comes with all the back story, and muscles, you’d want a movie action hero to come with, and the game features plenty of feature-ready weaponry and mythology.”

More troubling news is that with the scaled back story, New Line is also slashing the budget. Gears had been headed for a budget of over $100 million with an epic feel to the settings and story, but now they want to chop off quite a bit of the budget and shoot for a straight invasion story by the Locust Horde. Want even more bad news? With Wiseman likely gone from the project, he will be taking the hopes and dreams of wife Kate Beckinsale’s involvement with him. Wiseman had talked about wanting her in the film in some role (the game is nearly void of female characters), but now that all seems highly unlikely.

While Gears seems to be cooling off, Nocturne is really heating up. The film is getting a rewrite by the duo of Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who have screenplay credits for Iron Man and Children of Men. If that doesn’t grab your attention, not much will.

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