Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Len Wiseman to Direct Gears of War

If you're a big Gears of War fan, then I really hope you liked Live Free or Die Hard. Hollywood Reporter officially confirms that Len Wiseman, who directed the fourth Die Hard last year, is officially signed on to direct the Gears of War movie currently in the works. This was initially announced last year and since then have reported on various rumblings, including a rumor that the film was canned. Apparently the New Line merger, since this was a New Line film, didn't affect this project too much - because Wiseman is now attached and the project is actually moving forward as a big summer blockbuster. Screenwriter Stuart Beattie has been replaced with Chris Morgan instead, however, which may hurt the film more than help.

Gears of War, developed by Epic Games, became an instant success when it debuted on the Xbox 360 in November 2006. It became one of the most popular games on Xbox Live and sold more than 3 million units worldwide in its first 10 weeks. It received numerous awards, including Gamespot's Game of the Year and the Interactive Achievement Awards' Overall Game of the Year. Set on the planet Sera, the game thrusts players into a battle for survival between humans and a race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet known as the Locust Horde. Players assume identities of soldiers on Delta Squad, specifically the character of Marcus Fenix, as they fight to save Sera's inhabitants.

Cliff Bleszinski aka CliffyB, the lead game designer for Gears of War and Epic Games, worked with Stuart Beattie on the original 21-page treatment before handing it off to Chris Morgan to finish. Morgan previously wrote the scripts for Cellular, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and the upcoming Wanted. If you're concerned about this film, Bleszinski tries to calm our fears. "Hollywood needs to take the source material seriously, win over the avid gamers and make it work for an audience that is young and old, male and female." He continues, "Disney made a great movie out of a theme park ride, and somebody is sooner or later going to make a great one out of a video game. Having someone like Len really helps the odds. I think we're going to create something special here."

Before I get too far into the discussion of how great Gears of War could be, let me say that I really did not enjoy Live Free or Die Hard. But maybe it was the script and terrible ideas for an action movie that annoyed me more than Wiseman's directing. All I know is that with Wiseman directing and Morgan writing, I'm very concerned for this movie. I really don't think Wiseman is the one who is going to show us how good video game movies can be. Thankfully this probably won't hit theaters until 2010, meaning we'll see Jerry Bruckheimer's Prince of Persia before this hits. Maybe that will be the first movie that will kick video game adaptations into high gear.

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