Ubisoft must be feeling bullish about that Assassin’s Creed movie coming later this year. Following the release of an impressive trailer for the Michael Fassbender-fronted adaptation, word comes that the video game company is now moving forward on another feature film adaptation with yet another impossibly good-looking lead actor. Per Variety, Ubisoft is developing a The Division movie with Jake Gyllanhaal attached to star and produce, much in the same way Fassbender boarded Assassin’s Creed early in the development phase to spearhead that project creatively.
Tom Clancy’s The Division was released on game consoles back in March and quickly became Ubisoft’s best-selling game ever, generating an estimated $330 million globally in just the first week of release. The game is set in New York City during the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic, and the player portrays an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division who is tasked with helping to rebuild the Division’s operations in a near-deserted and crime-riddled Manhattan, investigating the nature of the outbreak and combatting a bevy of criminals along the way.
I’ve played the game and it’s pretty fun, and the premise certainly lends itself to an interesting film given that it’s fairly light on mythology or deep-rooted characters. There’s a great opportunity to build a creative feature film on this foundation, and it’s interesting to see Gyllenhaal come aboard the project so early.
By all accounts, the Assassin’s Creed movie is being approached with an emphasis on quality filmmaking, from the cast (Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Brendan Gleeson co-star) to director Justin Kurzel, who was coming off Macbeth when he was hired to spearhead the film. With The Division, I’m hoping Ubisoft and Gyllenhaal land a similarly interesting filmmaker who will craft the film with an eye towards making a genuinely great movie above all else.
Gyllenhaal and the studio are currently looking for a writer to put on the project and they may add one more actor to the ensemble before taking it out to studios, so The Division movie is still a ways out, but this is a curious development nonetheless. Gyllenhaal most recently wrapped the Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger for director David Gordon Green and is now filming Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho’s new film Okja. He’ll next be seen later this year leading Tom Ford’s drama Nocturnal Animals.