After more than 20 years of video game adaptations, Hollywood has still not churned out a truly great video game movie. Warcraft and Assassin's Creed tried last year, but they didn't quite deliver on their promise. Ubisoft, the video game studio behind Assassin's Creed, has another project on the burner in the form of Splinter Cell, which has been in development for years now. According to producer Basil Iwanyk, the movie is still happening, Tom Hardy is still going to be in it and if all goes well, the movie could go into production later this year. But, how will this one be different from the box office disappointment that was Assassin's Creed?
The producer recently spoke with Collider and confirmed that he is still involved in the Splinter Cell movie and had some encouraging things to say. They now have a draft of the script that they feel very confident in, which they are going to send to Tom Hardy soon. Assuming he approves it, things will likely move forward and the movie could start filming this year. He explains this.
"We've got a script. It's a little long, but it's the best script we've had. Now that I'm back from Mexico City, we're going in there to figure out how to cut some pages and give it to [Tom] Hardy. This draft kind of addressed Tom's notes. We're going to give it to Hardy in the next couple of weeks and hopefully try to get it done this year."
As of right now, Splinter Cell doesn't have a director, but it seems like a search will probably start soon, since the script appears to be in good shape. Ubisoft's Splinter Cell games are right up there in terms of popularity with the gaming community, but Assassin's Creed was also quite popular and had a lot to draw from for the movie. Unfortunately, it hasn't been a huge hit at the box office thus far, having grossed $210 million from a massive $125 million production budget. The fact that the movie has a very poor 18% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes probably doesn't help anything. According to Basil Iwanyk, that won't get in the way and Splinter Cell is a very different situation.
"They're separate kind of things. The story of the financial success of Assassin's Creed is yet to be told because we do live in an international world; it's still rolling out. Assassin's Creed had a very specific world to it and a very specific storyline, character, all that stuff. Splinter Cell really is a first-person shooter game. And so the challenge of making Splinter Cell interesting was we didn't have this IP with a very specific backstory. That allowed us to make up our own world and really augment and fill out the characters. I don't think one applies to the other because I don't think our movie will feel like a movie that came out of a video game, I think it'll feel like a badass, Tom Hardy action movie, which is what we wanted."
It seems like Basil Iwanyk may not have played the Splinter Cell games himself, because there is actually quite an established backstory and a central character that is very fleshed out. The games follow a man named Sam Fisher and the stories have built a lot on his character, relationships, and have placed him firmly in the modern world. So, unless the script is totally ignoring what is already established, there is a lot to dig into, which runs a little contrary to what Basil Iwanyk is saying here. He did speak a bit about the setting for the movie and said that Splinter Cell won't be emulating the Jason Bourne and current James Bond movies.
"It's more of what we're digging away from. The good and the bad news is that, obviously, the Bond movies have had a resurgence and the Jason Bourne movies are the Jason Bourne movies, so we're trying to stay away from those movies in terms of tone, in terms of bad guys, in terms of settings. What's a world that we haven't seen yet? What's an area of the world and a conflict that we haven't really touched upon in movies in a long time, to make it feel fresh?"
Basil Iwanyk also clarified that the Splinter Cell movie is aiming for PG-13 rating, as opposed to going for a more gritty, R-rated take. At the moment, there is no release date for the movie and Tom Hardy is pretty busy, but he has been attached to this project for a long time and apparently has some serious enthusiasm for it, so if the creative team can get everything in order, it looks like Splinter Cell could finally, actually be happening. We will be sure to keep you up to date as more details on the project become available.