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The Gears of War movie adaptation has been pretty quiet of recent. In April this year rumors that production on a Gears of War movie had slowed down kicked up again–this time from New Line studio sources (as reported by LATimes). Reports suggested the storyline and budget were being dramatically scaled back and that Len Wiseman would be focussing on other projects, namely Nocture. The original budget was expected to be around $100m, it is now thought to be considerably less.
The script by Chris Morgan (“Wanted”) had a lot of buzz around it, and was tweaked late last year by Billy Ray, which included a lot of character work. Reports were good, a sprawling and epic action movie. The change to the budget however makes the film much less epic, and much more a simple invasion story. With this in mind, New Line are searching for writers to make these changes. Until this is ready, production is stalled.
Wiseman has now been attached to the Total Recall remake, and will almost certainly not be directing the Gears movie. Add to this that Kate Beckinsale is his wife, and we’ve lost our only cast member.
What now for the Gears of War movie? A 2012 release? A low budget action film?
Just as I cast my doubts on the production of the Gears of War movie, it rears its head at this year’s SDCC with a panel featuring Len Wiseman (director) and Chris Morgan (writer, Wanted). Production is still in the earliest stages, but more importantly—it is still in production. How early? No concept art, casting or production stills yet. Wiseman and Morgan did however offer up their thoughts on the adaptation.
The first questions concerned casting, in particular the (entirely unsubstantiated) rumors that wrestlers would be cast as main characters. Wiseman said that casting strong men wouldn’t be his choice, instead, “I’m looking for an actor for the role and then [I’ll] put him into shape”, adding “I’m always thinking who could play the best Marcus. You want to get hooked into the character [first] and then all the amazing spectacle.”
As for the casting of Maria, Len Wiseman wants his wife Kate Beckinsale to play the badass female role, “If I can convince [Kate Beckinsale] — and I think I have a shot — I’d love to see that.”
Emergence day will play a big role in the movie’s plot, but the films are unlikely to closely follow the games. Whilst promising to follow the Gears history closely, he made no guarantees about “appeasing gamers”. Rod Ferguson, the game’s executive producer, explained:
“You can be too tied to what is the game. We’re so oriented at grabbing the gaming audience, we don’t leave behind what shouldn’t be in the movie. We’re about making the best movie possible, not about making Gears of War the game into a movie… previous movies haven’t been willing to let go. We had only three pages [of notes for Wiseman]. ‘Please don’t kill Marcus.’
To summarize, the studios have been asked to:
“make the best movie possible that fits your medium.”
Changes may include female COGs.
Wiseman and Morgan add:
“The tone of the characters and how they interact with each other [lends to] the overall experience of the movie. Look at Aliens in terms of the dark environment, but then how much fun you have with the characters.”
“Even though the world is literally at an end, they still joke. They have real emotion and compassion.”
Before Wiseman concludes,
“There’s so much opinion out there about what this movie should be and shouldn’t be, it falls on a very small group of people… and I’m one of those people. Are you going to respect the game? Of course I am. It is a different experience from watching a movie, but it’s my job of translating it into the best cinematic story [possible].”
News has been slow, and that’s an understatement — it’s been almost a year. I apologize that the content of the blog hasn’t been updated more often, but the truth of it is, there hasn’t been any news. The Gears of War movie has slipped into production hell; we can only speculate as to why — interest, finance and scheduling are some of the biggest contenders.
The video game adaptation as such is still in very early stages, despite having announced that Len Wiseman would direct; news that may no longer hold true given the length of time since the last update. We certainly won’t be meeting the rumored 2010 Summer release date, if production ramped up this coming January the best we could hope for is Spring 2011.
Some fan art
To lighten the mood a little I give you some fan art produced by Brian Speer, depicting Batista as Marcus and also featuring The Rock, inevitably, comments on this post will now turn into a casting discussion.
Variety are reporting that movie studio Legendary Pictures will be co-financing and co-producing the Gears of War movie adaptation, to be directed by Len Wiseman.
It’s the first New Line project that Legendary has signed onto since the mini-major was folded into Warner Bros. earlier this year. Legendary has a deal to co-finance and co-produce at WB.
“Gears of War” has been set up at New Line since early last year with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey producing through their Temple Hill banner. “Gears” lead designer Cliff Bleszinski is exec producing and consulting for developer Epic, which owns the rights.
Len Wiseman is directing with Chris Morgan writing the script. First draft was penned by Stuart Beattie.
Variety are reporting that Len Wiseman (Underworld) shall be taking the helm on the Gears of War movie. We reported this rumor in August last year. Chris Morgan (Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) is also writing a new draft based on Stuart Beattie’s treatment:
Len Wiseman is suiting up to direct New Line’s “Gears of War,” based on Microsoft and Epic Games’ hit vidgame.
Chris Morgan is penning a new draft of the actioner that Stuart Beattie originally tackled. Scribe’s credits include Universal’s upcoming “Wanted” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”
Fanboys have been speculating for nearly a year that Wiseman may helm the project; the game was featured in his most recent pic, “Live Free or Die Hard.” But talks with New Line took place only over the last several months.
Wiseman will develop the story with Morgan.
I think the general consensus, from when Wiseman was previously rumored, was that he is a bad choice of director. Bringing in Chris Morgan, someone that has worked on Fast and the Furious 3 and little that is critically acclaimed, suggests that the creative minds behind this are wanting to create an action-filled no brainer, with the majority of thought going into cool-looking CG action sequences rather than storyline and plot arcs. This news could potentially spell out doom (no pun intended) for the movie, condemning it to the world of low brow over the top action flicks. Gears surely deserves better.
At last, we have some big juicy news to get our hungry chainsaws plunged into. Wyck Godfrey, (producer of Eragon, AVP, I Robot), has spoken out about the Gears adaptation for the big screen:
“We’ve got our script on and a director we’re about to attach. We’ll hopefully make [the Gears of War movie] early next year for the summer of 2010.”
Thanks Elias, Coming Soon
CliffyB has been talking to the media about the status of the Gears of War movie again, which is something we are always very happy to see. The good news? The film is very much alive (despite the writers strikes it seems), so he tells Cineplex Entertainment:
“We are currently at the point where we have had a couple drafts of the script and now we are talking to different directors and trying to feel out who would be the best fit for it,”
“It has been a really fascinating process to learn how Hollywood works. […] I just hope that whatever comes out of this is compelling entertainment and is very representative of the ‘Gears of War’ universe.”
Thanks Damien for sending this one in.
Not related to the gears of war movie directly, however it is of interest to the readers of this blog, so I am mentioning it here.
Jerry O’Flaherty, art director for the Gears of War video game, will be undertaking the challenge of directing Warner Bros’ CG-animated Thundercats adaptation — so reports Variety.
I think I would prefer a live action Thundercats, maybe it’s just the thoughts of who could pull off the Cheetara role, whilst looking sexy and not ruining their career.
Are many people interested in this movie?
Thanks to John again for the heads up!
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