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Robert Rodat penning World of Warcraft movie October 13th, 2009

In talks with MTV, Sam Raimi has revealed that “Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan” writer Robert Rodat will be pen­ning the World of War­craft movie adap­ta­tion. The sto­ry­line will be an orig­i­nal effort, set in the War­craft uni­verse but not fol­low­ing the Lich King book (which had been rumored as a subtitle).

“We would choose… some­thing that encom­passes lands and char­ac­ters and sto­ry­lines, and we would be true to it. But our story may or may not be about one of those cen­tral characters.”

“We want to be really faith­ful to the game. We would have our writer, Robert Rodat, really craft an orig­i­nal story within that world that feels like a ‘World of War­Craft’ adven­ture. Only obvi­ously it’s very dif­fer­ent ’cause it’s expanded and trans­lated into the world of a motion picture.”

“[The hope is to prop­erly cap­ture] the Horde and the Alliance and the mythol­ogy that takes place in the game, and the arche­types that the game presents. I think we would try and find touch­stones within the game to make it accu­rate and true and choose one or some of the lands that are por­trayed in the game with as much accu­racy and authen­tic­ity as possible.”

Gary Whitta worked on Warcraft movie script August 10th, 2009

Gary Whitta (screen­writer [Futu­rama episodes, Book of Eli, Live action Akira], author and game designer) has revealed that over the past two years he has been fer­vently work­ing, in secret, on the World of War­craft movie adap­ta­tion. How­ever, since Raimi has come on board, the film’s direc­tion has changed and Whitta is no longer involved. Whitta explains,

I had actu­ally been work­ing on this for the past two years. Had to keep it under wraps at the time but it doesn’t really mat­ter now.

I worked very closely with Leg­endary and Bliz­zard to come up with a screen­play that dis­tilled the sprawl­ing War­craft mythol­ogy into a nar­ra­tive that was eas­ily acces­si­ble to the non-player, and every­one was really pleased with the results — I per­son­ally thought my last draft of the script in par­tic­u­lar was really kick-ass and did a good job of intro­duc­ing the War­craft world to non-players while also sat­is­fy­ing hard­core play­ers who knew every nook and cranny of the uni­verse. When Sam expressed inter­est in the prop­erty, how­ever, he had his own pretty spe­cific vision of what he wanted to do story-wise so that’s the ver­sion they’re now pur­su­ing. I’m no longer involved but I wish them all the best with it; so far as I’m con­cerned Raimi is the best pos­si­ble direc­tor for this.

Thanks Márton Gazdig.

Chris Metzen talks World of Warcraft Movie August 10th, 2009

Chris Met­zen, Blizzard’s VP of Cre­ative Devel­op­ment, has spo­ken with Game­Spy about the lat­est WOW Movie devel­op­ments — mainly Sam Raimi as direc­tor of the big screen adap­ta­tion. He dis­cusses Raimi’s ded­i­ca­tion to cre­at­ing faith­ful adap­ta­tions (he didn’t have full cre­ative con­trol in Spider-man 3) and his excite­ment at see­ing famil­iar places and char­ac­ters brought to the big screen.

Game­Spy: You’ve just made the big announce­ment that Sam Raimi will be direct­ing the War­craft movie. You’re co-producing, so what are your thoughts on the announcement?

Chris Met­zen: We’re all very, very excited about the announce­ment. We waited a long time to announce a direc­tor. We’ve been with Leg­endary for a num­ber of years and we’ve jammed a lot of ideas, and we’ve waited for the right per­son­al­i­ties, the right chem­istry to come together. We’re really, really stoked that it finally has. It’s pretty sur­real that we’ve finally made the announce­ment. It’s finally like, “It’s on, it’s offi­cial, here we go.” We’re just stoked to get it going and see this thing start­ing to take shape.

Game­Spy: Was Sam Raimi one of the orig­i­nally tar­geted directors?

Chris Met­zen: We talked about a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple, and cer­tainly his name was one of the first we had talked about. We’re all huge “Spider-Man” fans, and all of his hor­ror con­tent, like “Army of Dark­ness” is one of my per­sonal favorites. Sam’s one of those guys who came out swing­ing with “Spider-Man,” in terms of han­dling the licensed prod­uct and all the geeky fan­fare. The pas­sion of fan­dom, he really trans­lated that into some­thing that every­one could love, and had a lot of heart. And those were really impor­tant com­po­nents for us, in terms of trans­lat­ing a license, in build­ing a cin­e­matic expe­ri­ence that speaks to the license, but really sings to every­body. That was really, really impor­tant to us, so he was the per­fect partner.


Game­Spy: The fan base is rely­ing on you to ensure that the movie stays true to War­craft. Are you pre­pared to say that it will be?

Chris Met­zen: Absolutely! Absolutely.

Game­Spy: What most excites you about co-producing the movie?

Chris Met­zen: The thing that would excite me most is just that it trans­lates boldly. That it feels like a fan expe­ri­ence, and that a cou­ple years from now, you sit down in a the­ater and you’re like, “They did it. They got it. That feels gen­uine.” It may not be about your Level 12 Night Elf Hunter, specif­i­cally, but all the famil­iar­ity — the locales, the places, the char­ac­ters, the sto­ry­lines — it all feels con­tigu­ous and one-to-one with your expec­ta­tions. That’s my great hope.

Sam Raimi will direct World of Warcraft Movie July 22nd, 2009

The World of War­craft movie is offi­cially on the move, after many months of stag­na­tion we thought the project may have died a quiet death. How­ever, behind the scenes it seems there were some excit­ing dis­cus­sions and today, two years since the ini­tial announce­ment, Bliz­zard and Leg­endary pic­tures have named their direc­tor, one Sam Raimi.

Raimi has directed both the Spider-man and Evil Dead series, and may be a per­fect choice, as some­one that can take a huge wealth of core mate­r­ial (with a strong fan fol­low­ing) and deliver some­thing phenomenal.

Raimi is cur­rently set to direct Spider-man 4 which is due for release in 2011, pro­duc­tion hasn’t yet started on the fourth movie, which gives the World of War­craft movie a release date, at the ear­li­est, some­time in 2012. (Assum­ing Spider-man 4 begins early next year, takes one year to com­plete and meets its release date, and that the WOW movie has a sim­i­lar schedule).

Press release

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – July 22, 2009 — Bliz­zard Enter­tain­ment, Inc. and Leg­endary Pic­tures announced today that Sam Raimi has signed on to direct the eagerly-anticipated major motion pic­ture based on Bliz­zard Entertainment®’s award-winning War­craft® uni­verse. Raimi has, in the course of his career, clearly demon­strated a genius for devel­op­ing and adapt­ing exist­ing fic­tional uni­verses for main­stream audi­ences while stay­ing true to the spirit of the orig­i­nal con­tent.
Raimi directed the Spider-Man tril­ogy, which has bro­ken box-office records around the world and gar­nered five Acad­emy Award® nom­i­na­tions. Known for his imag­i­na­tive film­mak­ing style, richly drawn char­ac­ters and off­beat humor, Raimi wrote and directed the cult clas­sic, The Evil Dead and pro­duced 30 Days Of Night. He most recently wrote and directed the super­nat­ural thriller, Drag Me To Hell.

“At its core, War­craft is a fan­tas­tic, action-packed story,” said Raimi. “I am thrilled to work with such a dyna­mite pro­duc­tion team to bring this project to the big screen.”

Charles Roven’s pro­duc­ing tal­ents were recently seen with last summer’s block­buster The Dark Knight, which grossed in excess of $1 bil­lion, was nom­i­nated for eight Acad­emy Awards® and won two. His body of work also includes the widely acclaimed Bat­man Begins and the sci-fi clas­sic 12 Mon­keys. Roven, with Atlas pro­duc­ing part­ner Alex Gart­ner, will be pro­duc­ing with Leg­endary Pic­tures CEO Thomas Tull, Legendary’s Chief Cre­ative Offi­cer Jon Jashni, Raimi and Raimi’s pro­duc­ing part­ner Joshua Donen. Raimi’s part­ner, Robert Tapert, will be an Exec­u­tive Pro­ducer and Bliz­zard Entertainment’s Senior Vice Pres­i­dent of Cre­ative Devel­op­ment, Chris Met­zen, a Co-Producer.

“Part­ner­ing with Sam Raimi exem­pli­fies Legendary’s man­date of mar­ry­ing the high­est qual­ity intel­lec­tual prop­erty to world-class film­mak­ers” said Legendary’s Tull. “Sam’s pas­sion for ‘War­craft’ is unde­ni­able and we know that he will cre­ate an incred­i­ble film wor­thy of Blizzard’s phe­nom­e­nal fran­chise. We look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with our part­ners at Warner Bros. and con­tin­u­ing our suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship with Chuck in bring­ing this rich new world to the screen.”

“Bliz­zard Enter­tain­ment and Leg­endary Pic­tures have a shared vision for this film and we searched at length to find the very best direc­tor to bring that vision to life,” said Paul Sams, chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Bliz­zard Enter­tain­ment. “From our first con­ver­sa­tion with Sam, we could tell he was the per­fect choice. Sam knows how to simul­ta­ne­ously sat­isfy the enthu­si­asts and the main­stream audi­ence that might be expe­ri­enc­ing that con­tent for the first time. We’re look­ing for­ward to work­ing with him to achieve that here.”

Blizzard laugh away Uwe Boll April 21st, 2008

It appears that Uwe Boll applied to Bliz­zard for the role of direc­tor in the World of War­craft movie. Shock hor­ror I hear you all cry, espe­cially when such an astound­ingly bad direc­tor has these views about mak­ing a faith­ful adaptation:

“You go for it, to please the game fans, but on the other hand if you have the hard core gamers, they live in their own world. And you can­not ful­fill their ideas from a video game based movie, it’s impos­si­ble. And to be hon­est, the real gamers are the typ­i­cal down­load guys, right? They don’t pay any­thing for movies, because they ille­gally down­load the movies. So why I should please these guys? I need the nor­mal audience.”

In the MTV arti­cle, Boll goes on to say that he spoke with Bliz­zard about helm­ing the WoW movie:

“I got in con­tact with Paul Sams of Bliz­zard, and he said, ‘We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you. Because it’s such a big online game suc­cess, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongo­ing income, what the com­pany has with it.”

Good news all round I say! Here, here, let’s move on to some good poten­tial directors…

Warcraft Movie at BlizzCon 2007! August 4th, 2007

Today at Bliz­zCon 2007 we have heard our first solid and inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion with regards to the War­craft, or to some, the World of War­craft Movie. This movie will be big, huge, EPIC even — in fact, Thomas Tull (pro­ducer of 300) stated a bud­get of over $100m would be com­mit­ted, with a pro­jected 2009 release date. Leg­endary Pic­tures are 100% com­mit­ted to this project, it shall be a “tent-pole”, some­thing to stand next to and say “we did that!” — whilst remain­ing true to the game and fan base.

The plot for the film will take place approx­i­mately a year before the start of World of War­craft, includ­ing races you have played and lands you have wan­dered in, where lots of plot arcs are melded into a two and a half hour story. The film itself will revolve around a ‘badass’ new hero, with a theme towards con­flict and cul­ture — being a War Movie rather than a quest movie, from an Alliance’s per­spec­tive.

“It’s actu­ally not like the great adven­ture. It’s not so much a quest movie. It’s more of a war movie. Well, okay, it’s absolutely a war movie. Cul­tures grind­ing up to a hor­ri­ble moment where it just all spills over and gets out of con­trol. Less of an adven­ture party quest-type sit­u­a­tion. More of an armies build­ing to an inevitable con­clu­sion type situation.”

And w.r.t to the Alliance:

“While my heart lies with the Horde and Thrall’s an inter­est­ing char­ac­ter, from a movie mak­ing stand­point, a block­buster movie its a lit­tle rough to try and tell it from the per­spec­tive of this green look­ing dude.”

No direc­tor or cast have yet been assigned to the project and Tull stated that rec­og­niz­able actors to play main roles was not a necessity:

“We are start­ing those con­ver­sa­tions. We’re going to be look­ing for some­one of Zak Sny­der (300) or Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight, Bat­man Beings) calibre,”

The not so good news — seems they are aim­ing for PG-13 con­tent which claims to be a com­pro­mise. I per­son­ally miss the days of old when action heroes swore blindly.

“I can tell you that this is the one thing about run­ning a stu­dio and mak­ing these things that’s hard. You want to not com­pro­mise and have the right level of inten­sity. The story and the director’s vision is what’s ulti­mately going to dic­tate that. Per­son­ally one of my favorite movies of all time is Lord of the Rings, which has a PG-13 rating.”

The film is still in its script­ing process, but Tull stated that they are cur­rently work­ing with some­thing that they are very happy with.

And now for the first piece of con­cept art of the Teldrassil:

Other Q & A info:

Classes will be in the movie, but can’t give details since still in script­ing process, not exactly clear and we don’t know yet, but we want many famil­iar ele­ments in the movie as possible

What races will be rep­re­sented? Not very easy to answer con­sid­er­ing the time­line we’re talk­ing about, so they are not sure about if the For­saken have yet joined the Horde But not every­one can be in the spot­light in the first movie anyway

War­craft has a lot of strong char­ac­ters, would you con­sider going back to do another movie on Arthas? I would con­sider that, sure, but we haven’t talked about what other films might deal with. We have to get the first movie right first before you deal with franchises.

This is based on two or three major moments in the games, so it isn’t rad­i­cally apart from the con­ti­nu­ity, so it really holds together. We want it to taste like the World of War­craft world. but it’s also really fresh. I under­stand the fear that you don’t want us to screw up the story, but we will be respect­ful of the con­ti­nu­ity but will hold up as a killer 2 hour movie. It is a lit­tle mod­i­fied.
There’s so much in this world to deal with, so you use that as a jump­ing off point to tell a kick ass story. They want the play­ers to enjoy the movie expe­ri­ence, if they are too much a slave to the story that won’t be the case. They want to respect the world, but to trans­late it to the screeen and is great on film.

And here is an after-video from IGN:

Thomas Tull discusses film’s progress June 27th, 2007

Speak­ing at the Hol­ly­wood and Game sum­mit keynote, Thomas Tull (Leg­endary Pic­tures Chair­man) pro­vided some rest-bite, ensur­ing us that the movie will be dealt with as nec­es­sary. He begins,

“We’re doing World of War­craft, and mak­ing it into a movie. I have very strong feel­ings — from the movie side — that mak­ing movies based on games just because they sold well is a really bad idea. There’ve been some like that that weren’t up to snuff just out of the gate. It doesn’t mat­ter to us if it’s based on a graphic novel like [Frank Miller’s] 300, or a TV show – if there’s a great uni­verse and story, that’s what’s inter­est­ing to us.”

In the fol­low­ing  Ques­tion and Answer ses­sion Tull stated that Leg­endary and Bliz­zard are work­ing very closely together to get the sto­ry­line per­fect by pin­point­ing what makes up the essence of the War­craft universe:

“I think some of the stuff that makes a game trans­late well into a movie is a good story. If there’s a lore, if there’s a road and story and a world that’s been cre­ated, and char­ac­ters that are inter­est­ing in a way that’s more than just point and shoot. You have to look at it and not make a nov­elty out of it. Not just look at sales records. Bliz­zard plays a very impor­tant role in this process. If you’ve cre­ated a game, be it Halo, Gears Of War, or War­craft [each being trans­formed into a movie] — you came up with some­thing that’s com­pelling enough to res­onate with a huge num­ber of peo­ple. There has to be a trust, and you have to at some point hand over the baton to peo­ple who know how to make films.

“We are work­ing very closely with the design­ers and writ­ers, and they’re very involved. I think on the big­ger [films] you have to have that. They’re sit­ting right there at the table with us as we develop the story and the script, and I think we’re nail­ing the story and what’s com­pelling about it.”

Via Gama­su­tra where you can find more news from the Hol­ly­wood and Game summit.

Empire interview Itzik Ben Bassat April 18th, 2007

… and they asked him a lit­tle bit about the World of War­craft movie. Itzik Ben Bas­sat is the Vice Pres­i­dent of devel­op­ment and he says these few words:

There’s a World of War­craft Movie in the works, do you expect that to enjoy sim­i­lar suc­cess?
We’ve been work­ing on that movie for years! If peo­ple only knew how many years we put in to clos­ing this movie deal. We’re very happy with our progress though, it was really dif­fi­cult for us as a com­pany to find some we trusted to work with. With Leg­endary, well, they did Bat­man Returns and the new Super­man so we knew that was a com­pany we wanted to work with. Bring­ing War­craft to the movies is the next step for us, we want to let peo­ple bring World of War­craft into other aspects of their lives. After all, we’re com­pet­ing for people’s enter­tain­ment time, whether it’s lis­ten­ing to music watch­ing TV or going to the cin­ema. Our goal is to pro­vide the best enter­tain­ment out there.

Any news on when we can expect to see the film?
Hol­ly­wood has it’s own pace but we’re work­ing as hard as we can to push it forwards.

Check Empire for the full text.

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