Michael Fassbender will star and produce Ubisoft’s planned film adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, according to a breaking news story over at Variety.
The German born Irish actor will take on the lead role of Desmond Miles, a bartender who is captured by a secret organisation with ties to the ancient Knights Templar, who repeatably send him back into the past via the body of his assassin ancestors to retrieve valuable historical documents and artifacts. The first movie of a planned franchise will send him back into the time period of the Crusades in the body of Altair, just as the very first video game did when it was released in 2007 and that spawned an extremely popular gaming series.
Franchise potential for the film series is already big here with 2009′s video game sequel Assassin’s Creed II sending Desmond to 14th century Italy (in the body of Ezio) and the forthcoming threequel sending him into the body of a half-Native American during the late 18th century Colonial America at the end of the 18th century. Of course they could also simply trigger a World War II scenario also, a period of history where Fassbender has already felt quite comfortable in from previous movies.
Ubisoft’s Motion Pictures CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet said of the casting;
“Michael Fassbender was our first choice. Michael (Fassbender) is an extremely smart, talented, versatile and committed actor.”
Ubisoft actually setup their own studio a little while back so they can use the profits from the video game sales to fund their own independent movie adaptations, allowing them to keep full creative control on their properties after years of Hollywood misfiring on video game adaptations. At one time they were in bed with Sony Pictures about an Assassin’s Creed adaptation but they got nervous when their plan for the film didn’t match theirs.
Talking to Variety, Baronnet is open to the possibility of teaming with another studio for a distribution deal if a deal is right;
“We’re open to re-discuss with the key studios once the production package is finalized,” Baronnet told Variety. “Whatever the financial model, UMP will limit its risk investment.”
According to the report, Ubisoft will attempt to cut down costs on their budget by doing many of the visual effects in-house with their in-house video game production studios.
The hiring of Fassbender as a producer as well as star from the get-go seems to be key in the film’s development… he has been hired before a director or even a writer and brings legitimacy to their ambitious movie plans and with him on board the sky is the limit now for other talents they can attract to it.
He has already worked with numerous big directors who could make Assassin’s Creed into something special. His Prometheus director Ridley Scott loves the Crusades period, although he may have gotten it out of his system with Kingdom of Heaven in 2005. Fassbender is working with him again though on his next movie The Counselor and also on a Prometheus sequel, so there is a chance for Fassbender to bend his ear into at least considering a video game adaptation.
Fassbender is also great friends and now frequent collaborator with Brad Pitt… who is to say he couldn’t bring him on board to play a villain or another side-character.
Lots of interesting permutations to consider but the hiring of Fassbender certainly gives this project some legitimacy. More as we get it…
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