Assassin's Creed Movie Modeled After Batman Begins, Blade Runner

Plus, Ubisoft reveals the movie's huge budget and explains why it won't be terrible.


New details about the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender have been revealed, relating to its plot and more. Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean Julien Baronnet acknowledged in a new interview with French film magazine Premiere that video game movies don't have the best track record when it comes to quality--and he thinks he not only knows why that is, but also how to break the mold.

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In the interview, translated by Den of Geek, Baronnet says the Assassin's Creed movie (and other Ubisoft films) will be different first because they are produced autonomously, without a big-name Hollywood studio. Signing the right talent, in this case Macbeth director Justin Kurzel, is also imperative if you want to make a good video game movie, while you should also involve the actors in the story and scripting process.

"We told [Fassbender] that we were going to build the project together," Barronet said. “That we have an enormous brand and we want to make a film modeled on features like Batman Begins or Blade Runner. That's what we're aiming for. We promised him that he could work with the scriptwriters, that we were going to bring him into all the key creative choices."

Ubisoft Motion Pictures is working with New Regency for the Assassin's Creed movie, but the game maker will retain control of "key elements" of the film's creative direction.

Movies based on video games in the past suffered for a number of reasons, one of which was that they were either made by movie studios that didn't understand, or didn't try to understand, video game culture, Baronnet said. For the Assassin's Creed movie, this won't be the case.

Also in the interview, Barronet talked about the Assassin's Creed movie's tone. "We obviously want the film to have depth, but also to be fun and for there to be some lightness," he explained.

In addition, he said the film's story will be just about evenly split between the past and the present. By comparison, the Assassin's Creed games focused more on the past.

Barronet also acknowledged that adapting Assassin's Creed for the big-screen was no easy task, in part because it has two heroes, Callum and Aguilar, each of which are played by Fassbender.

"Assassin's was complicated to develop, because you're working with two time periods, one contemporary and one historical," he said. "With two heroes, as you have Callum, the modern-day hero, and his ancestor Aguilar, who have two parallel stories which meet up. Generally in a film, you only have one hero. And with the link between the past and the present, you can't have one of the stories taking precedence over the other. So structurally, it's very complicated."

Barronet also revealed the estimated extent of Ubisoft's financial investment in the Assassin's Creed movie, revealing the film's budget is between $150-$200 million. To make the movie a financial success, he said he's hoping it appeals to basically everyone who likes movies.

"Our big gamble is that it works for three audiences," Barronet said. "Fans of our games, which there are some 95 million of; fans of mainstream cinema who are going to see Star Wars and Spider-Man; and in parallel, we're also aiming it people who would never think of going to see an Assassin's film, people who like independent films."

Assassin's Creed, as the movie is being called, lands in theater on December 21, 2016. In addition to Fassbender, its excellent cast includes Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), and Denis Menochet (Inglourious Basterds), while Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson recently joined the cast.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the next game in the series, arrives on October 23.

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