Videogame-to-movie adaptations haven’t fared very well over the years, ranging from the semi-decent (Silent Hill) to the ridiculous (Super Mario Brothers) to the WTF-worthy (anything directed by Uwe Boll). With gaming a multi-billion-dollar industry and with the quality of game writing improving by leaps and bounds, you’d think a big-budget videogame/movie franchise would be a no-brainer, but fans of both genres are still waiting for somebody to make the first truly great videogame movie. That goal just became a lot more realistic, however, because actor Michael Fassbender has signed on to star in and co-produce a bigscreen adaptation of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean-Julien told Variety that Fassbender was their first pick to play the film’s lead. Whether that’s true or simply marketing spin, it’s a decision that’s likely to put a big stupid grin on the faces of AC fans such as myself. Since breaking out with a memorable performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Fassbender has gone on to earn fans and critical praise in movies such as X-Men: First Class, Shame, and this summer’s Prometheus. I’m pretty confident that Fassbender would excel in any role you could throw at him, but I can definitely see him knocking an Assassin’s Creed role clean out of the park.
Based on the synopsis in the Variety article, it sounds like they’ll be sticking pretty closely to the storyline of the first AC game, as opposed to the numerous sequels that have followed. That installment introduced Desmond Miles, a bartender who is kidnapped by the nefarious Abstergo Industries and plugged into a device called the Animus, which allows him to relive the memories of any of his ancestors. In the first game, that meant reliving the adventures of Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, an assassin living in the Holy Land during the time of the Third Crusade. Desmond soon learns that he is part of an ancient war between the Assassins and the Templars, with the stakes being nothing less than the fate of the world and free will itself.
In the first game, both Desmond and Altair were voiced by the same performer (the ever-present and all-around awesome Nolan North), which was kind of distracting since all the other characters had at least vaguely appropriate accents. Altair’s later appearances in the franchise gave him a new performer and accent. That raises the question of who exactly Fassbender will be playing in the Assassin’s Creed movie: Desmond? Altair? Both? Desmond’s role in the first game was extremely limited, so I can’t see them hiring somebody of Fassbender’s caliber to play only Desmond unless they plan on beefing his role up. Either way, the Assassin’s Creed movie just jumped to the top of my “must see” list.
Assassin’s Creed III will be released for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii U, and Microsoft Windows on October 30th. In the mean time, somebody call Kristen Bell’s agent; I’ve got a role she’d be perfect for!