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Pen trumps sword: Shadow of the Colossus movie finds a writer

Shadow of the Colossus

We’ve been hearing quiet rumblings for quite some time about a planned film adaptation of the PlayStation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus. The game centers around one man’s quest to hunt down and kill a dozen utterly massive monsters, and as such would lend itself quite well to an action flick with a decent budget. In that regard Sony Pictures has just picked up a crucial new piece in its plan to adapt the title’s pixelated source material.

According to a new article published by The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s script will now be written by Seth Lochhead. Lochhead is relatively new to the Hollywood scene, so though you likely don’t recognize his name you may recall his work on the screenplay for the 2011 action movie Hanna. Though Lochhead is now the key name on the Shadow of the Collossus script, he’s actually the second scribe to take a crack at the film. Justin Marks, the writer behind 2009’s objectively terrible Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, wrote a first draft of the script when Sony initially opted to bring Shadow of the Colossus to theaters, though it remains to be seen how much of Marks’ work remains in the final film. If nothing else, Lochhead’s prior efforts gives us more faith in the Shadow of the Colossus film than Marks’ would have, so while we’re always wary of video game to movie adaptations this project is suddenly looking a bit more rosy.

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In further positive news, it’s important to remember that Lochhead is not the only member of this film’s crew with an exciting list of credits. In May of 2012 Sony Pictures hired Josh Trank to direct Shadow of the Colossus and while his name is as recognizable as Lochhead’s, he’s much more notable as the director and co-writer of 2011’s surprisingly excellent superhero movie Chronicle.

The involvement of these two men doesn’t necessarily guarantee that Shadow of the Colossus will be anything other than a terrible film, but those who’ve seen Hanna or Chronicle and played Shadow of the Colossus would likely agree that this project now has the potential to be something excellent (or, failing that, something very interesting). Hopefully Trank and Lochhead can manage to avoid the omnipresent curse that seems to hobble all films based on existing video game franchises.

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Shadow Of The Colossus movie lines up a new director
shadow colossus movie finds director of the

Sony's PlayStation 2-era fantasy adventure game Shadow of the Colossus was a critical and commercial success, and continues to be cited as a prime example of the artistic potential in video games. Whether the big-screen adaptation of the game will receive as much acclaim is uncertain, but the film now has a director with quite a bit of potential attached.

Sony Pictures has announced that Mama director Andres Muschietti will be behind the camera for the Shadow of the Colossus movie, which will be based on a script by Hanna screenwriter Seth Lochhead. His directorial debut, Muschietti's 2013 horror flick Mama was a modest success, earning critical praise for the Argentine director's blend of spooky atmospheric elements and creature effects to bring the story of a family haunted by a child's mysterious guardian to life on the screen.

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God Of War movie writers explain the film’s concept
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In case you weren't aware, there's a movie in the earliest stages of production based on Sony's God Of War video game series. Assuming you haven't been dead for the last half-decade this shouldn't come as much surprise to you since, well, God Of War is a successful game franchise so of course someone would want to turn it into a movie. That's how Hollywood works now, whether we like it or not.
As our cynical grumbling won't do anything to make the eventual film more palatable, and it's far too early to reasonably speculate on this thing's potential, we were happy to see that the lovely people over at JoBlo had recently conducted an interview with Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the two men tapped to write the script for the God Of War movie. Perhaps the duo might be able to offer some reassurance as they explain how they're adapting the story seen in Sony's games for theaters:
In the same way that Batman was grounded with Christopher Nolan's rendition, we were attempting to do that with Kratos so that when we meet him -- like they're doing in this newest game, which is sort of a prequel to the original -- we're seeing him before he became the Ghost of Sparta, when he was just a Spartan warrior and he had family and kids."
In the game ... there's that attack from the barbarians and Kratos has to call upon Ares to help him. Really, that's going to be our first act break. Before then, he's going to be mortal, and he's going to have his family. We're going to learn about him and understand how he operates. So it's potentially 30 minutes -- give or take -- of building up this character so that, when he does turn and becomes the Ghost of Sparta, we understand him as a human and we understand the journey that he's going to take. We're emotionally invested, so that it could go beyond just this one movie.
Alright, that seems a bit derivative, but then again it worked quite nicely in Batman Begins and it's not like we had any preconceived notions about how amazingly well Chrisopher Nolan could capture the spirit of DC Comics' Batman books before that film hit theaters. For all we know Dunstan and Melton's script could be phenomenal and demonstrate an in-depth understanding of Kratos and his violent, tragic background.
Actually, given the rest of the interview, we're growing warily optimistic about this project. Following the above quote the two men are asked about the characterization of Kratos in the movie and spend quite a while explaining how the producers behind the flick have repeatedly stressed the idea that though God Of War will certainly be an action flick full of spectacular violence and bombastic CGI, they want Kratos to be both tough-as-nails and exhibit a very human vulnerability and complex set of motivations. Specifically, they'd like to avoid the trap many recent action movies have fallen into where the lead characters are so invulnerably awesome that all possible tension is drained right out of the film. By definition it's very difficult for the average person to relate to a literal superhuman, so Dunstan and Melton are trying to instill the theatrical Kratos with a "softer side," for lack of a better word.
It's a great interview, and you really should read the thing in its entirety. Not only because it might make you a bit less worried about this project, but also because I want every one of you to spend the rest of the day imagining how a screenwriter might possibly balance emotionally resonant empathy with a character who is so unflinchingly violent that he needed no alterations whatsoever to fit in alongside the cast of the most recent Mortal Kombat sequel.

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David Jaffe, the co-director and lead designer of Twisted Metal, was in Los Angeles to reveal new multiplayer mayhem for the October 4 reboot on PlayStation 3. The press event featured a full-scale Sweet Tooth ice cream truck and props from the gruesome live action cinematics that will tell the backstory of each of the game’s characters for the campaign mode. (more…)

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