Gears of War movie development jammed

Epic Games' big-screen adaptation reportedly sees budget slashed, scope reined in, and director possibly jumping ship in favor of a different flick.

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The film adaptation for Microsoft's iconic first-person shooter Halo had a lot of things going for it: a big fan base, a big budget, and some big names attached. Unfortunately, that didn't save the project from winding up in development hell. Now there's concern that the same fate awaits the film adaptation of another Microsoft sci-fi shooter franchise, Gear of War.

"Not quite ready for my close-up, Mr. Wiseman."

The Los Angeles Times reported last night that the project has suffered a number of setbacks lately. In addition to budget cuts and a scaling back of the story, the paper said the departure of director Len Wiseman is now likely.

Originally connected to the Gears film adaptation in 2008, Wiseman is instead now focusing on the postapocalyptic thriller Nocturne, the paper reported. Besides being married to actress Kate Beckinsale, Wiseman is best known for directing the Underworld action horror films and the fourth Die Hard film, Live Free or Die Hard.

Previously, New Line Cinema had expected the Gears of War film to tell an epic story, with an appropriately epic budget of more than $100 million. However, the paper said both have been scaled back considerably, with New Line "turning it into a more simple, straight-ahead invasion story instead of a sprawling epic." The film's producers are now looking for a new writer to take on that challenge.

While Gears fans will likely have to wait some time for a feature film, good news on the game front could be fast approaching. Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski is appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this Thursday in order to unveil his next project.

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