Back in 2007 New Line Cinema proudly announced that they would be taking the classic gore filled sci-fi video game Gears of War and turn it into a film. I love playing the video game so I was pretty excited to get to see it get adapted in a feature film. This could be such a bad ass movie if done right, and at first, it looked likethe studio was headed in the right direction. They brought in a solid screenwriter, Stuart Beattie, who also wrote Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Len Wiseman (Live Free Die Hard) was then brought on board to direct the film, and he worked with Wanted screenwriter Chris Morgan on the script for about a year.
There must have been a lot of frustration because the LA Times reports that Wiseman has left the film project. He's moving on to helm a film he's officially signed on to direct called Nocturne, which is an apocalyptic thriller being set up at 20th Century Fox. The reason he decided to leave... The studio cut the budget for Gears of War in half. This is a film that needs a decent budget to be developed right! Without a decent budget the film is going to end up looking like crap.
[The film] was to be a multi-generational epic with a big-canvas feel. But the studio has now cut the budget, going from a film that would have cost more than $100 million to one that will cost a good chunk less than that. It’s also reined in the story, turning it into a more simple, straight-ahead invasion story instead of a sprawling epic. Producers are looking for a new writer to handle all this, but haven’t found one yet. And Wiseman, while technically still attached, will likely not be a part of it when all is said and done.
So pretty much New Line is setting this film up to be another video game adapted failure. That's pretty disappointing. The fans want to see the big multi-generational epic with a big-canvas feel! Anything less just doesn't seem worth it. At this point they might as well not make the movie at all.
As for Wiseman's Nocturne there's no casting yet and the title may en up being changed. The story is about a group of people who survive the apocalypse and the mysterious circumstances of how they got there. The film is currently being written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby who wrote Iron Man and Children of Men. They're working off a version from Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore, who wrote the Red Dawn and Missing in Action remakes, so you can see why the script had to be rewritten.
Sounds like it could make for an interesting film, we still know very little about the project and story. But, I'm interested to see what Wiseman does with the project, but it's a shame that Gears of War is going down the road it is.