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].”