Given the success - or lack thereof - of gaming adaptations on the silver screen (opens in new tab), the fact that Michael Fassbender decided to not only star in but also produce Assassin’s Creed (opens in new tab) was a bit of a stealthy surprise when it was announced. The good thing is that he knows there’s usually a problem when Hollywood attempts games but he’s got a somewhat more positive view when it comes to the free running historical franchise. When I visited the set of the movie in Almeria in December last year, Fassbender was asked whether it was risky taking on a video game movie and he was pleasantly honest.
“Well it’s not really risky, seeing as how somebody’s got to do it right once, so we figured that the odds were stacked in our favour, right?” Fassbender laughed. “At the time, I sat down with the fellows at Ubisoft and they started to explain this to me and I thought, OK there’s lots of action-adventure films out there at the moment, but what was really unique about this one - and which I thought elevated it above other action-adventure and fantasy films – is that this idea of the DNA memories seems like a very plausible scientific theorem, that we carry around in us the knowledge of our ancestors, and that way we know stuff like “Don’t eat that berry, eat this one...” you know?”
Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel share an interest in the psychology behind the Animus and the morally ambiguous, not to mention murderous, areas where the Assassins and the Templars lurk. “We tend to go for the more grey stuff,” agrees Fassbender. “In terms of the battle between the Templars and the Assassins, we want to show them both in good and bad lights, you know? Something that’s really interesting about the game is that it is so complex. So you talk to people like say, psychoanalysts, and their kids are playing the game and they’re like 'I love these Assassin’s games, they’ve got so many elements to it' – like that morally it’s a very sort of grey area. Hopefully that’s when people, when they leave the cinema they start talking; 'How do I feel about this and how do I feel about that?' and it becomes a conversation after the film and leads to the next day, hopefully and it stimulates and provokes, which I think the game does and very much so.“
Given the fact I’ve watched the first fifteen minutes and at no point wanted to stab myself in the eyes with a fake hidden blade, the movie’s definitely on the right track so far.
Directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Ariane Labed, Michael K. Williams, Jeremy Irons, and Brendan Gleeson, Assassin's Creed opens in US theatres on December 21, 2016 before being released in UK cinemas on December 26, 2016.
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