Rarely are video games adapted into movies with the scope, budget and talent of Assassin’s Creed. Yet, despite its pedigree, this movie still failed to deliver on its promise.
The hype has been steadily building with Ubisoft’s announcement of an upcoming variation of their blockbuster gaming franchise and the recruitment of Michael Fassbender for its lead role. Could this be the movie that will finally end the infamous curse surrounding video game adaptations?
Could it be possible that the memories of the beloved games Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Bros. soon become a distant memory? Read on to learn more about what we have gleaned thus far.
Sitting at the crossroads of Philip K. Dick and Gladiator is Assassin’s Creed, a 2007 game that changed the gaming landscape forever. The storyline follows Desmond Miles, an ordinary bartender who discovers he has been descended from an extended lineage of Assassins throughout history.
Unluckily, the most feared enemies of Miles’ ancestors, the Templars, have reemerged in his timelines as Abstergo Industries. He is soon caught and made to relive memories from Altair’s life during The Third Crusade through a mechanism known as Animus.
As time has passed, the ongoing conflict between Assassins and Templars – with its action-packed mix of MacGuffins, sword fights, parkour stunts and historical references – has captivated 91 million people worldwide. Nine primary games plus numerous spinoffs later, it is still going strong!
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the most exciting new game! Both warring factions battle it out in Victorian London, and Domain highly recommends this title, calling it “the best Assassin’s Creed game for years.” Don’t miss your chance at an epic adventure – jump into Assassins Creed Syndicate now!
In the movie, Michael Fassbender plays dual roles as fifteenth-century Assassin Aguilar and his modern-day descendant Callum Lynch. These two protagonists are charged with recounting the game’s inciting plotline while facing an array of obstacles on their journey to victory.
In the game, Lynch is hunted down by Abstergo’s enemies and forced to relive his ancestor’s memories via their Animus machine. His mission: run, jump, and engage in sword combat.
Sign explores massive moral complexities and themes of genetic material being transferred from one generation to the next and delivers a unique spin on these topics. According to Australian director Justin Kurzel, “The concept that we are made up of our ancestors’ DNA is an incredibly fresh and original perspective.” Honestly, this movie captures something special with its portrayal of familial legacy.
Michael Fassbender passionately believes in the unique real-life story behind the Assassin’s Creed game. According to him, it’s unlike other franchises — such as Star Wars — where we have clear moral divisions between right and wrong. He explains that this game touches upon a much more complicated concept of ambiguous morality with countless layers of grey area.
Reports initially claimed that Daniel Espinosa, widely known for his work on the acclaimed thrillers Snabba Cash and Safe House featuring Denzel Washington, was in talks to helm the much-anticipated film adaptation of Ubisoft’s popular fantasy/experience game series Assassin’s Creed. His stylish direction seemed perfect with its dual storylines set across periods.
Initially, the rumour of Michael Fassbender (above) being chosen for Macbeth’s director quickly dissipated. But upon further consideration and with his producer hat on, he hired Justin Kurzel in 2014 to take on this role. Kurzel had directed Snowtown, a brutal serial killer movie that didn’t win him any favours among kangaroo lovers!
Macbeth was an extraordinarily violent tragedy, yet a unique interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic. Unlike the other plays, no innocent marsupials were harmed in this one!
The renowned connector of Kurzel’s Macbeth, Michael Lesslie, was the first to explore and investigate the fascinating background behind Ubisoft’s successful franchise.
Subsequently, veteran sci-fi writer Scott Frank – whose work on Minority Report is notable for its use of time-bending gadgets – gave it his stamp of approval. A final draft from Exodus followed this: Gods And Kings duo by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage.
Since 2012, Michael Fassbender has joined forces with Marion Cotillard for their much-anticipated Woman Macbeth production. Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons have also become part of the star-studded cast.
Gleeson portrays Aguilar’s father, while Irons is the patriarch of Cotillard’s personality. Also featured in the cast are Callum Turner (the devious Anatole Kuragin from BBC’s latest show Conflict And Harmony) and Ariane Labed of The Lobster fame.
With its picturesque Mediterranean landscape, Malta is the Michael Sheen of filming locations. Not only has it served as Westeros for Game Of Thrones, Rome in Gladiator and a zombie-ravaged Earth for World War Z, but also 15th-century Spain in Assassin’s Creed. It’s no wonder that filmmakers repeatedly turn to this stunning backdrop!
To bring the creation to life, filming took place in Spain’s volcanic hills outside Almería, at London’s Freemasons’ Lobby (which makes sense as it is a recurring theme throughout the games), and on Pinewood 007 stage. Production came to an end on January 15th.
Fassbender remarks, “When we consider this question, I often think of The Framework. This concept of DNA memory takes it beyond a typical fantasy story – because now there is something that the audience can accept and believe in.”
The journey then turns into a far richer experience when you’re discovering something new. Director Kurzel paid homage to David Lean’s epics to accurately recreate the historical environment on an epic scale.
As its star, Michael Fassbender, explains, Assassin’s Creed relies heavily on traditional stunt work and real-life settings rather than CG backgrounds or post-production compositing. Imagine Errol Flynn in a world of digital avatars! “This film utilizes virtually no green screen – something quite rare for films like this,” says Fassbender. The results are astounding – Assassin’s Creed has outperformed his two other movies that didn’t use stunts!
In Valletta, the Maltese capital, daredevils such as Damien Walters demonstrated impressive parkour and freerunning skills by bouncing across buildings. The elite stuntman even pulled off a sensational 120-foot act without any safety equipment! Michael Fassbender also took part in some of the stunts with his ability to roly-poly turning while executing basic battle choreography – all with much amusement. It was an extraordinary display of trust and skill that will be remembered for years!
Based on Justin Kurzel’s intense fight scenes in Macbeth, the action sequences for his upcoming Assassins will be less gory and more elegant. We can expect a visually engaging story focusing on strategy rather than violence.
“We are doing anything and everything to ensure our action sequences aren’t fierce,” declares Fassbender. “Although there is a certain level of brutality in the scenes, what’s impressive is how we film them on actual sets and real-world locations.”
With the colossal success of its gaming series, Assassin’s Creed is now looking to conquer Hollywood with a film franchise – no easy feat considering there have yet to be any successful adaptations from video games!
Production began on August 31, 2015, in Malta, London and Spain and continued into October. With an intensely private set to avoid media attention, no leaked photos or paparazzi images have been released thus far.