Will there ever be a great movie based on a video game?* I have my doubts. The problem is two-fold: if you stray too far from the material, fans get upset. If you’re too faithful, then you’ve basically recreated the game except the interactive aspect has been removed. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of the videogame movies we’ve seen so far are protagonist-based: Mario, Lara Croft, the Prince of Persia, etc. And then there are movies like Silent Hill and Wing Commander that just aren’t very good. But what if you took a talented director like Duncan Jones (Moon) and let him build a story out of a gigantic video game world? Legendary Pictures plans to do just that by having him adapt World of Warcraft.
Steve recently interviewed Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, who explained how WoW is going to be a successful video game movie. He also talked about the studio’s other upcoming projects including movies from Michael Mann and the directors of Kon-Tiki. Hit the jump for more, and click on the respective links for what Tull had to say about Man of Steel and Pacific Rim/Godzilla.
So how do you make a good movie based on a video game? According to Tull, forget that it’s a video game and focus on the story. He acknowledges that it was much tougher to make movies based on classic games like Pong, but now they have the ability to tell great stories because video game plotlines have vastly improved in the past several years:
I think first of all is to lose the fact that it’s a videogame movie and just concentrate on do you have a story that’s worth telling? Because if you look back to the 80’s, comic book movies were not anywhere near what they are today. They weren’t given the resources and you didn’t have the level of directors that you have today working on these things. I think with videogames it’s just become much more sophisticated storytelling, hard to do a movie off of Pong, but today when you have stuff like Mass Effect, you have things like Warcraft, you have things like Skyrim where very cool worlds have been created, that’s what we’re attracted to. We took our time with Warcraft because just saying “How many people play the game? Well then that means X number of people will buy a ticket.” That’s a death trap, that’s the surest way to make a crap movie, and that’s not an option. So we took our time wanted to make sure that we used all the canon that’s been built up over years and years by Blizzard.
We’re huge believers in Duncan Jones, and I think what we’re going to bring to screen and to bear with Duncan, he is going to break that mold because it’s going to have the resources, the talent around it, and a Field General in Duncan Jones. It’s, again, the reason we took our time, made sure we had the right guy, the right person to make the movie, and then it will speak for itself when it comes out.
He added that we’ll soon be hearing updates regarding the production status, script, and release date.
World of Warcraft is among the many high-profile, blockbuster productions on Legendary’s slate, but they’re not afraid to pursue other projects as well. Tull talked about working with the Oscar-nominated directors of Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. The studio is also developing an untitled thriller with director Michael Mann:
One of the things were realty excited about is a movie called Spectral and the directors are these guys that did Kon-Tiki [Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg] that was up for an Oscar this year. They’re just incredible smart filmmakers. We also have movie with Michael Mann that’s going to come out that we’re really excited about. Michael Mann is one of the best filmmakers on the planet. So these are some of the things that we’re going to be talking a lot more about and that are on deck and getting ready to shoot besides the big ones that you’ve already covered.
Look for more with Tull tomorrow.
*Note: I know know the Resident Evil franchise has its fans, but I’m not one of them.