The BBC have released a teaser trailer for The Gamechangers, their Grand Theft Auto docudrama. It’s got Daniel Radcliffe as co-founder and president of Rockstar Games, Sam Houser, and Bill Paxton as (now disbarred) lawyer, Jack Thompson.
In case you don’t remember or are too young for this, Thompson had a real bee in his bonnet about violent videogames, particularly GTA, and filed multiple lawsuits against its developers and publishers, at one point referring to the game as “a murder simulator“. His arguments generally revolved around the claims that games promote copycat violence and act as a space where people can train to carry out real-world violent acts.
Here’s the BBC’s summary of the project:
“The Gamechangers tells the story of how British game designers pushed boundaries into uncharted territory, of how those fighting GTA became consumed by a battle which overwhelmed their lives, and how the subsequent fallout threatened to bring down leading players on both sides.
“This drama is for an adult audience and has not been authorised by the producers of Grand Theft Auto. Rather, it is based on court documents and interviews with many of those involved in the real events behind this compelling story.”
I have watched the trailer several times. It feels like it starts with a riff on The Social Network’s trailer where Justin Timberlake knows what is cool and it is one billion dollars. They seem to have ignored his other piece of advice about dropping the word “The” from the title, though.
It then goes on to teach me that I am incapable of seeing Daniel Radcliffe as Sam Houser and cannot conceive of the footage as being for anything other than a GTA/Harry Potter crossover fanfic.
Because of diligent research I went to see if such fanfictions exist (why wouldn’t they?) and then to consume them. Or at least the first few paragraphs of them.
I accidentally ended up three chapters into Gangland rather than at the beginning so that started off with Harry at Privet Drive being belittled by Uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge. I think in the books he does illegal magic on her but here, not so much:
“‘Might remember that I’m the scariest mother fucker here.’ And he jammed the knife from dinner deep into the table, just barely missing her hand. ‘See you next year, Marge darling.’”
Then there was an original character fic that is explained thus:
“Paul just graduated from Hogwarts and he aims to fight crime in San Andreas with his magic profession. But is he messing with the wrong guys?”
I think my favourite thing about that one is that Paul’s full name is Paul Iron and he is described as “like Severus Snape on Steroids” which means I am now imagining Alan Rickman’s head on a Mighty Mouse’s body.
And finally, Grand Theft Potter. Grand Theft Potter is more of a vignette – a sniper-based prologue that was never continued into a full story but has Harry Potter as some kind of mafia Don.
“Harry Potter is the Don of the Potter Family and leader of the Wizarding Comission which consists of Five Wizarding Families Potter, Weasley, Chang, Bones and Greengrass.”
So now you know.
Harry Potter and the Series Of Lawsuits will air September 15th on BBC 2 at 9pm.