While Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed adaptation didn’t make
an eagle dive a big splash at the domestic box office, a relatively strong international performance kept the Michael Fassbender-starrer from being a write-off and turned it into a decent earner. The film continues its rollout in China and Japan in February and March respectively, but Ubisoft isn’t waiting on the final numbers to move ahead with their next video game adaptation: Splinter Cell.
The Tom Clancy-inspired/endorsed video game franchise is already set up to star Tom Hardy in the lead, and will be produced in part by Basil Iwanyk. Our own Steve Weintraub had a chance to sit down with Iwanyk for his part in John Wick: Chapter 2 and managed to get some timely updates on the state of the stealth-action movie. The good news for fans is that this thing is still a go, even though we haven’t heard any news on its progress in some time; the bad news is that I’m not sure just how much the Splinter Cell movie will resemble its video game namesake.
First up, it looks like Splinter Cell is waiting for script approval and the go-ahead from Hardy before entering into production:
Collider: Are you still producing Splinter Cell?
Basil Iwanyk: I am. We’ve got a script. It’s a little long, but it’s the best script we’ve had. Now that I’m back from Mexico City, we’re going in there to figure out how to cut some pages and give it to [Tom] Hardy. This draft kind of addressed Tom’s notes. We’re going to give it to Hardy in the next couple of weeks and hopefully try to get it done this year.
And as I previously mentioned, the box office performance of earlier video game adaptations aren’t a big concern for this adaptation, as far as Iwanyk is concerned:
Does the financial box office of Assassin’s Creed play into Splinter Cell or are these separate things?
Iwanyk: They’re separate kind of things. The story of the financial success of Assassin’s Creed is yet to be told because we do live in an international world; it’s still rolling out. Assassin’s Creed had a very specific world to it and a very specific storyline, character, all that stuff. Splinter Cell really is a first-person shooter game. And so the challenge of making Splinter Cell interesting was we didn’t have this IP with a very specific backstory. That allowed us to make up our own world and really augment and fill out the characters. I don’t think one applies to the other because I don’t think our movie will feel like a movie that came out of a video game, I think it’ll feel like a badass, Tom Hardy action movie, which is what we wanted.
Here’s where I’ll have to disagree a little bit, and I’m assuming that Splinter Cell fans will, too. The series centers on Sam Fisher, a character with a well-established background, personality, physical appearance, and relationships, all set in a realistic modern world with very real and complex problems. In short, unless the movie is going completely off-book, there’s enough existing IP here to draw from. That being said, Tom Hardy could make a very convincing Sam Fisher:
Tom Hardy has talked about, for years now, Splinter Cell, and I think he’s a gamer.
Iwanyk: He is a gamer. He’s also a guy who has a lot of friends in that world, not the gaming world but the Special Ops world. He wants to play this character really, really badly. That’s what makes it exciting for all of us because Tom playing this character is an event.