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Prince of Persia Goes To The Movies

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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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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