Entertainment industry publication Variety reports that director Len Wiseman has signed on to helm Gears of War, a movie based on the video game from Epic Games. New Line Cinema nabbed the film rights to the game last March and tapped Australian screenwriter Stuart Beattie to write a screenplay. According to Variety, writer Chris Morgan (Wanted,Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) will write the next draft of the screenplay. Game designer Cliff Bleszinski is on board for Epic Games to consult and executive produce.
Wiseman had been the center of some speculation about directing a Gears of War movie after featuring the game in his Bruce Willis action film Live Free or Die Hard; he also directed the first two films in the Underworld franchise, and is producing a third Underworld film.
A sequel to the Gears of War video game is slated to hit retailers in November to take advantage of the end-of-year buying season. New Line had originally slated a Gears of War film for summer 2009, although if the screenplay is still being refined and no production schedule is in place, that date will likely be pushed back.