A couple of days ago it was announced that Sinister director Scott Derrickson would be directing the big screen adaptation of Square Enix's video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. He is also set to co-write the script with C. Robert Cargill. In a recent interview with Movies.com Cargill talked about adapting the game into a film, and why he and Derrickson are taking it on.
First and foremost, the moral complexity of the story. It’s a dark, dark story underneath it all. Almost everyone in the game exists in a moral gray area with a well-defended position that you can really wrap your head around. The writing of Deus Ex is the stuff of good novels. As Scott and I dissected it, we found a lot of interesting angles to issues everyone is wrestling with in this day and age. We thought of elements to the universe that we wanted to further explore. And we got excited about it. On top of all that, Scott and I love cyberpunk. I grew up on it. The way Deux Ex reinvented the genre was fantastic. It got us talking about movies like District 9 and Looper and Blade Runner and Inception, and it just seemed like the right fit.
He goes on to talk about what the obstacles they face in adapting the game.
Straight up, the fact that it’s a video game. That comes with its own host of problems. Every fan of the game has a very specific idea in what they want to see in a movie – casting, visuals, favorite parts of the game. At the same time, we’re also making a film for people who haven’t played the game; some who haven’t even heard of it and just think the movie looks cool. The way we’ve approached it is that we’ve decided not to make a video game movie. We’re making a cyberpunk movie.
The game is incredibly convoluted. Not in a bad way, mind you. In a way that really works as a twisty, turny 30-plus-hour gaming experience. A straight adaptation of the core story is, as you say, problematic. If you’ve got two hours, sit down and watch all the cut scenes strung together on YouTube. Then realize that you’ve watched a movie’s worth of story without any connective tissue, leaving out every single side quest/subplot as well as a number of important conversations. The trick will be to tell the story right and do it justice while simplifying certain elements, without cheapening it or dumbing it down. Needless to say, we have some ideas.
I wonder how long they've been developing the movie before it was officially announced. It sounds like they have a solid idea on what they want to do with it. Cargil is then asked if he played the game, and it seems like he's on top of things in that area as well. Here's what he had to say...
Several times. I’m in the middle of my third play-through now. I’m trying to beat it without killing anyone but the bosses, which is not easy. There’s something particularly cool about playing video games for “research” and getting to tell your wife you’re “working” while you’ve got an XBox controller in your hand.
The story is set in the near future, when dramatic advances in human augmentation have triggered a technological renaissance. The protagonist, an ex-SWAT security specialist named Adam Jensen, must embrace mechanical augments in order to unravel a global conspiracy.
There's a talented team attached to this film project, and I think it going to turn out being a very cool movie. It seems like these guys wont do anything less.