E3 is usually all about the video games (except for that one time when it was just TV and sports, SPORTS, SPERTZ! – No, Microsoft, we haven’t forgotten!). But this year also happens to see the release of a couple of massive video game movie adaptations, one of which is Assassin’s Creed. And last night during their E3 conference, publisher Ubisoft took time out to focus on the upcoming feature film adaptation of their much beloved sci-fi/action-adventure/historical/conspiracy theory/platforming franchise (geez, just pick a genre!).
Legendary producer Frank Marshall ( who has worked on everything from the Bourne franchise to the Indiana Jones franchise to the Jurassic Park movies) was brought on stage to chat with host Aisha Tyler about the film and had this to say with why he jumped on board.
“I thought that the Assassin’s Creed universe really had all the elements that would make a great movie. It was our goal as filmmakers to stay respectful to the DNA of the brand, and bring something new to the franchise that can be experienced in movie theaters,” he said. “We have a new story, we have a new hero, dynamic supporting players and characters, we mixed a little bit of the old and the familiar up with a new element.”
“It’s the multilayered mythology that we have that comes from the game and putting you into the story. We have a real story and it has an arc that goes all the way util the end. [It’s] being able to have the same wish fulfillment as you have in the game.”
On top of that, Marshall also exclusively revealed a new featurette/trailer for the film. The video clip gives a new behind-the-scenes look at it with interviews with star/co-producer Michael Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel, while also debuting a bunch of new footage. Check it out below.
If you’re familiar with the games, then you know that it’s biggest narrative hook is that it follows a bunch of characters from the near future – all members of a secret assassin’s sect – who are able to experience and relive the memories of their ancient ancestors in order to gain the knowledge to defeat their age-old enemies, the Templars. It’s these historical memory sections – made possible through a device known as the animus – which makes up the huge bulk of the games as the franchise has visited periods and real life people from the Crusades to the Renaissance to the American Revolution and more, while the modern sections mainly act as interludes and bookends
But during a set visit earlier in the year, Marshall revealed to the international publications lucky enough to be in attendance that about 65% of the movie will actually be in the modern world. So why the switch-up in focus? During Ubisoft’s corporate press event last night (via IGN), Ubisoft Motion Pictures’ VP of Global Marketing Stephan Simard revealed that this was totally a creative decision on their part, to enable them to exist in the world of the games but still stand out from it.
“We’re not interested in telling the same stories from the games that have already been told so well. Rather, we’re looking to bring a new dimension to the universe. Working in the present day really gave a lot of freedom to develop new storylines and characters who are very three-dimensional and emotional, and bring in a wider audience as well as excite our existing fans with new stories to engage with.”
This makes a lot of creative sense. The modern day sections of the games have always been the most under-developed, so to focus on that means they don’t have to trample over any fan-favourite characters or moments. The contemporary setting does unfortunately also increase the likelihood of more Kanye West music. Damn it.
But just in case that puts you off, how about this little nugget that Simard also revealed: That scene at the end of the trailer showing Fassbender’s Aguilar pulling off the game series’ iconic leap of faith from the top of a tower? That’s no CGI. That’s actually parkour pioneer Damien Walters – who is Fassbender’s stunt double – really diving 120 ft with no wires. According to Simard, “These are not superheroes. They had to be on the edge of what humans are capable of.” Death. I think you meant to say “they had to be on the edge of stupid death” there.
Assassin’s Creed also stars Marion Cotillard, Michael K. Williams, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson,and is scheduled for release on December 21, 2016. Here’s the full synopsis:
Based on the Ubisoft game franchise, the Assassin’s Creed movie follows a character by the name of Callum Lynch (Fassbender) who, through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, is able to experience the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar (Fassbender), in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.
Last Updated: June 14, 2016