A new Hollywood trend is now to turn successful video games into feature films, the newest crop expecting to break the curse of video game movies being total crap include Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Assassin’s Creed, and Mass Effect.
Another huge video game property that has been staring studios in the face for a while now, and I’m actually shocked since it’s third installment’s release that it hasn’t been gobbled-up for some sort of adaptation. Of course I’m speaking about The Witcher series, which is originally based a group of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, so it’s not the norm for video game material having such a rich literary origin. Below is a video that explains the world a bit more.
I think it’s safe to say we’re currently at the peak of fandom for Game of Thrones and dark genre material in general, and studios really haven’t capitalized on that to it’s fullest potential. It also doesn’t look we’ll be visiting Middle-Earth anytime soon, and it’s about time that studios starting looking at darker fantasy material for theatrical releases. With that in mind, and the fact that video game franchises are becoming the new stomping ground for source material, I’d assume studios would be fighting over something like The Witcher, but that’s currently not the case.
The dark but sexy fantasy tale could be something just as captivating as Game of Thrones if handled properly.
In my eyes the two studios that could benefit from a franchise like this would be 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate, considering they don’t shy away from the more mature material. If it went a bit smaller in scale, I’d love to see producer Megan Ellison and Annapurna Pictures get involved in securing the movie rights. I think Megan would be an excellent producer for a franchise like this, and we’ve seen she’s all about making quality movies that tell well crafted stories.
Ellison’s producing credits include amazing pictures such as Her, True Grit, Lawless, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, American Hustle, The Master, and David O’Russell’s latest film Joy. She’s also earned three Best Picture Oscar nominations for Her, American Hustle, and Zero Dark Thirty.
The Witcher is just as much a horror project as it’s fantasy, and I think the reason some of the more recent horror projects have landed such an impact on audiences is their use of practical effects. I think while of course you’re going to need to use CGI for a Witcher movie, it’s also full of monsters and creatures that could be done using in camera special effects.
Who better to work on a film like this than effects wizard Greg Nicotero?
Greg is best known for Walking Dead and Quentin Tarantino’s go-to-guy for effects since Pulp Fiction, he’s also worked with Quentin on Kill Bill, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, and his next flick The Hateful Eight. His horror credits include Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Predator, John Carpenter’s Vampires, Ghosts of Mars, Land of The Dead, Hostel, Planet Terror, The Mist, Drag Me To Hell, From Dusk Till Dawn, and of course The Walking Dead.
To separate itself from the pack, seeing a Witcher film using cutting-edge and old school practical effects could be a way to really make a strong impact on audiences. I mean there should be seriously scary and gory moments if it’s going to be faithful to the books and games.
When it comes to directors I think it comes down to people who have an eye for darker material, and at the top of that list is Drive‘s Nicolas Winding Refn, who is currently shooting his vampire flick The Neon Demon. After his crazy viking flick Valhalla Rising it’s hard to stop to consider what he could do within a huge sprawling fantasy epic, Nicolas had teased a desire to make a Wonder Woman film but Warner Bros. never took him up on the offer.
Speaking of Wonder Woman, Emmy winning director Michelle MacLaren deserves a franchise now that she’s exited Wonder Woman. I think she still has a shot making something special even more so within the fantasy genre, with her ties to Game of Thrones and Nicotero via The Walking Dead, I think she’s just as capable of bringing this world to life. Plus, I think it could be so cool for her to land something as cool as this.
Ben Wheatley is another excellent candidate with his films like Kill-List, A Field In England, and the upcoming High-Rise prove the rising talent could tackle this fantasy horror project.
I think it’s hard to imagine someone being a better actor to play Geralt than Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal, A Royal Affair, Age of Uprising, King Arthur, Valhalla Rising), there’s just something that gives him that stoic quality plus I’d buy into him cutting off the heads of monsters and while still looking like a major badass. It’s also hard to ignore the man has massive sex appeal, which is a huge thing with this character.
I’m sure there are plenty of actresses that could be perfect for roles but my own wish-list includes Gemma Arterton (Byzantium, Quantum of Solace, The Voices, RockNRolla, Alice Creed, A Hundred Streets, She Who Brings Gifts), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Counselor, The Forest, Patient Zero, Tudors), Tuppence Middleton (The Intimidation Game, Trance, Sense8), and Romola Garai (Atonement, Last Days on Mars, Suffragette), considering Geralt tends to surround himself with some kick-ass ladies these actresses might be a perfect contrast to the witcher.
Okay Hollywood, the ball is in your court, don’t mess this up you as you have a badass franchise at your fingertips just waiting to be made.