Prince of Persia Goes To The Movies

By Alec Meer on May 21st, 2008 at 8:36 am.

In fairness, this guy doesn't look hugely Persian either

Seems Hollywood big boys are taking videogame adaptations seriously these days. First, Bioshock gets a big-name director attached to it, in the form of Gore Verbinski, and now the other driving force behind Pirates of the Caribbean, noisy uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, is dumping a truckload of money on a Prince of Persia silver-screener. It’s due next year and “the producer and Disney hope to turn [it] into a follow-up franchise to “Pirates of the Caribbean”, reckons Variety.

It’s to be directed by veteran director Mike Newell (Four Weddings, Donnie Brasco, Pushing Tin and, more recently and presumably relevantly, one of the Harry Potters) and scripted by far too many men than can surely be good for it. Especially as one of them coughed up word-horrors for The Punisher (Dolph Lundgren version), From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. More reassuringly, another soldier in this writer-army is POP creator Jordan Mechner.

Immediate controversy will doubtless centre on the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal in the Prince’s fancy pants. The sad-eyed, big-chinned Donnie Brokeback After Tomorrow star is notably not a sixth-century Persian nobleman. So will he be blacked up for the role, just a bit tanned, or will we be expected to take one look at those soulful blue eyes and simply fuggeddaboudit?

The Prince will go by the moniker of ‘Dastan’ for this Sands of Time-focused adventure – which, according to Wikipedia, is a name for a form of oral history from Central Asia “centered on one individual who protects his tribe or his people from an outside invader/enemy” – so, it’s all meaningful and stuff. Prince Dave just didn’t carry the same gravitas, presumably. Meanwhile, James Bond: The Quantum Of Dribblingly Meangliness Subtitle’s Gemma Arterton will play “feisty and exotic princess” Tamina. Which I will presume actually means “shouty and scantily-clad” until proven otherwise.

Anyway, it may be sounding a little silly on paper, but it’ll doubtless be a visual tour de force, the Pirates heritage may mean it’s the sort of upbeat, doesn’t take itself too seriously action romp we just don’t see enough of, and it’s another strong suggestion that Hollywood is finally eyeing up videogames with real intent, rather than leaving them to be picked apart by Z-list director-vultures. Perhaps the superhero cloth has been deemed rung dry, and our favourite flashing pixel-based entertainments will be source of the next half-decade of glossy blockbusters.

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32 Comments »

  1. Ben Abraham says:

    Anyone taking bets on the next game franchise to be mined by hollywood? Can i get 20:1 odds on Audiosurf. Put me down for a 5er. XD

  2. Optimaximal says:

    It’ll be a carbon copy of Pirates, set in Persia – Just look at the timeline of the recent series!

    - First game/movie is a light-hearted romp full of entertainment that relates well too its source.
    - The Second game/movie took itself way too seriously and tried to expand on the universe whilst totally changing the atmosphere and direction of the game.
    - The third game/movie tried to scrape back some form of respectability for the series, but was too long, too confusing and you still didn’t like any of the enfilade characters introduced by the second game/film.

    *sigh*

  3. Julian Calaby says:

    Can I get odds on them destroying the entirety of Half-Life?

  4. Chris says:

    I’d love to see Deus Ex as a screwball romantic comedy – Rene Zellweger was clearly born to play Anna Navarre, with Jude Law as JC.

    [EDIT: hahaha, just found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DAPXMZk2iw "JC Denton is a dick". It's true you know, he is.]

  5. AbyssUK says:

    Day of the Tenacle would make the best film ever, Hollywood get onto it.

    Also make the next indy “Fate of Atlantis!” that was a real indy tale…it had Nazi’s for one and we all know that Nazi are the best bad guys.

  6. Ian says:

    I’d like to see an Armageddon Empires film based on the Kabaagh from the Cults expansion.

    Tentacle Lickin’ Good.

  7. Dinger says:

    Audiosurf would make a good anime-influenced cartoon series.
    Duke Nukem, I hear, has been in pre-production for a couple decades.
    The Sims would work in a The Bridge of San Luis Rey way: start with seven characters walled in a room without a toilet, then explore the seemingly fickle path of fate that got them there, and ask the question: “is there meaning?”

    Someone already did Minseweeper: The Movie.

  8. phil says:

    Dark Sector as a sweeping, epic gay romance? Brokeback Mutant if you will – “this thing, it grabs hold of us again… at the wrong place… at the wrong time… and we’re dead.
    “etc.

    Prince of Persia would take a deftest of touches to get right – Mike Newell could potentially pull it off.

  9. Ben Abraham says:

    …you still didn’t like any of the enfilade characters introduced by the second game/film.

    /Inigo Montoya voice

    Enfilade… I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Enfilade

  10. Jonathan says:

    Did you just get owned by the gambling pope?
    Oooh that must have burned.

  11. Rook says:

    The second pirates of the caribbean film was the best, with the third being utter dross, so I don’t think it quite fits into the pop trilogy format.

  12. AndrewC says:

    The Sims has already been made as The Exterminating Angel

  13. James T says:

    Rene Zellweger was clearly born to play Anna Navarre, with Jude Law as JC.

    Her squint’s gonna look weird with a camera for an eye!

    JC’s obviously going to be John Cusack on one of his ‘romcom slumming’ stints though.

    Say, I’d watch it… But no, surely the love interest should be Sandra Renton!

    Bob Page can be the richer, classier rival for her affections… say, Russell Crowe? Walton Simons her angry ex-boyfriend who confronts JC in… an underground lab on the west coast. Hmm, Simons, Simons… Joaquin Phoenix Ben Stiller!

    And at the end, they get married, and JC’s infertile of course, with the whole perfect-assassin-with-nanotech-enhancements thing (oh the trials of modern romance!) so they have a dog. Not a cat, those are too easy to walk right over and crush to death — you can step on them once, but then they become a hostile.

    Meanwhile, I’d be down for a Psychonauts fillum; Brad Bird & Pixar, keep Wolpaw and Stone on the script. Lovely!

  14. Babs says:

    So will he be blacked up for the role, just a bit tanned, or will we be expected to take one look at those soulful blue eyes and simply fuggeddaboudit?

    Surely you don’t expect Hollywood to have a leading man looking middle-eastern? I guarantee he’ll look as All American as a fat kid eating a Kentucky Fried BigMac. Or something.

    A Psyconauts film would absolutely rock. It’s just such a good candidate, as it would have instant Pixar-style appeal with the sprogs even if you’d never heard of the game.

  15. Shon says:

    Hollywood dictates that the Prince will be a reluctant heir to the evil Persian empire. He will fall in love with a beautiful white girl and protect her helpless white village from his evil dark skinned brethren.

  16. Duncan says:

    While Mike Newell has certainly made a few clunkers over the years I think he is by far the best director to be given a video game to film adaptation. Doesn’t mean it will be great but at least it stands a chance.

  17. Nick says:

    It’s a sign of just how creatively bankrupt and afraid of any risks at all Hollywood is now.

    The worst part is all these “safe” established remakes/old tv shows-films are usually awful and frequently tank and lose more money than a risky picture might. But they are seemingly too retarded to notice.

  18. Stick says:

    What, no Hugh Jackman? Or would that mean they’d admit to owing Marvel Comics a crapload of royalties for WW and TT?

  19. phil says:

    ‘Safe’ franchises/remakes, while creatively bankrupt, poorly reviewed, widely reviled and a pox on commercial film making are rarely unprofitable in the long-term. The open week-end may be unspectacular but with international markets, peripheral marketing deals, long-term rights ownership etc, they do generally make good money.

    Film making is a risk based business and unfortunately remakes/franchises are one way of de-risking it, with potential in-built audiences and media interest factoring into accountants spreadsheets. This is also why I tend not to pay for films.

  20. Hieremias says:

    Surely you don’t expect Hollywood to have a leading man looking middle-eastern? I guarantee he’ll look as All American as a fat kid eating a Kentucky Fried BigMac. Or something.

    Well at least it isn’t as bad as an Arabian prince being played by Antonio Banderas.

  21. James T says:

    ‘Safe’ franchises/remakes, while creatively bankrupt, poorly reviewed, widely reviled and a pox on commercial film making are rarely unprofitable in the long-term. The open week-end may be unspectacular but with international markets, peripheral marketing deals, long-term rights ownership etc, they do generally make good money.

    Quite so.

    And Dukes of Hazzard was orsm!

    But let me get my Hollywood hat on here… RAINBOW SIX! JUST IMAGINE IT! SOLDIERS! GUNS! TERRORISTS! LAS VEGAS! IT’LL BE LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE! WE’LL GET RIDLEY SCOTT, I KNOW HE’S A BIT ‘WEIRD’, WHAT WITH THAT ARTY ‘BLACK HAWK DOWN’ FILM — I KNOW, I WAS A LITTLE CONFUSED BY IT MYSELF — BUT DON’T FREAK OUT, WE’VE GOT HIM UNDER CONTROL!

    Meanwhile, Persian ethnicity actually has quite a broad spectrum. Consider the blue-eyed white Persians.

    Wait, that’s not right… Still, my prior statement is true! Even if casting Jake Gyllenhaal is taking the WASPiness a bit far…

  22. Nick says:

    They are making a Rainbow 6 film already. Based off the novel rather than the game though.

  23. Radiant says:

    @ Ben Abraham & Optimaximal
    Actually I did feel like I was being shot in my arse* whilst watching PoTC 2-3 so maybe they did have some enfilade characters.

    *and in my eyes and in my brain and in my will to live.

    HOLD ON
    Jake Gyllenhaal? The sad face guy?
    As an acrobatic prince?

    Who played Sinbad? Can’t we get that guy?
    Or that dude from Jason and the Argonauts is he still alive?
    Ex Arsenal player Robert Pires?

    What about Ronaldo?
    Either of them… it would help if there were prostitutes in this film. Transvestite prostitutes if you want the fat Ronaldo.

  24. The_B says:

    The Sims is also already being made into a movie…

    And as for Miss Arteton in the PoP movie, the jury (or at least the 12 members making up the subconcious in my head) is still out. I suppose she wasn’t too bad in St Trinians, but I don’t think that’s really saying much. And I haven’t seen Three & Out, so I’ve no idea from that one either…

  25. James T says:

    Who played Sinbad? Can’t we get that guy?

    [nods solemnly] I believe that was Sinbad.

  26. Nick says:

    Yes, it was. He is a shit actor too.

  27. James T says:

    I was being facetious, but yes, now I remember his stirring turn as the mythic Iraqi mariner in ‘Good Burger’.

  28. Chris says:

    Ooh, Pires is an excellent shout for the Prince, looks-wise anyway. Unfortunately he’d spend most of the movie rolling around on the floor pretending someone had hit him, so it’d be a bit of a waste.

    Actually, I’d like to see Sacha Baron Cohen doing a Borat re-hash as comedy Persian Prince. And they really need to get this scene in word-for-word: http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=83

  29. Radiant says:

    Sinbad!
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051337/
    With the bare knuckle brawler cyclops.

    and don’t knock Good Burger it’s multi layered.

  30. Nick says:

    “I was being facetious”

    Obviously.

    =(

  31. Scandalon says:

    Tamina? What the fruenhimer is wrong with Farah?

  32. Matt says:

    Not to politicise things too much but isn’t there a certain irony about making this film given the current climate? Here come the Americans to rescue Persia from their evil dictator? Better yet lets cast the guy from Jarhead that in itself has certain implications?

    I’m not saying this is intentional but it certainly is clumsy and will be read by some in this way. I think if I were from that region of the world I would find it crass.

    Aside from that I don’t see the point, why not just make some original story up, or remake Sinbad?

    If you have played the game you know the story already, what is more you got to play through it which was the fun part, unless the film is going to bring something new and inventive to the table I don’t get it. It is machinma gone mad!