While a lot of studios are in various phases to bring video games to the big screen (‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Mass Effect’ and ‘World of Warcraft’ to name a few), ‘God of War’ looks like it may actually be moving forward after years of what seemed like suspended development.
For those of you not familiar with the game, the ‘God of War’ series is based loosely on Greek mythology. Players control the protagonist Kratos, a Spartan warrior demigod who’s requested by Athena to stop the god Ares. In order to do so, he must go on a quest to find the one object capable of stopping him: Pandora’s Box. On a personal note, Kratos finds out that Ares is responsible for a tragedy that occurs in his life and is out for revenge.
A film adaptation of the game has been in the works since 2005. By 2008, it was reported that Brett Ratner (‘X-Men: The Last Stand,’ ‘Rush Hour’) was attached to direct the movie based on a screenplay by David Self (‘The Haunting,’ ‘Road to Perdition,’ ‘The Wolfman’). Then nothing was heard of the film until just recently when it was announced that Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (the duo who wrote the ‘Saw IV,V, and VI’ films, ‘The Occult’ and polished Guerillmo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’) would be handling the film’s rewrite.
In an interview with IGN, Melton and Dustan commented on how they were hired to rework Self’s existing script (which they thought was actually pretty good on its own) due to the fact the Universal thought it was a bit outdated:
“The only problem with that is it was written before ‘Clash of the Titans’,’ Wrath of the Titans,’ ‘300’ and ‘Immortals’, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the ‘God of War’ (game)stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies.”
One of their first actions with the new script, according to Dunstan, was to humanize the Kratos so that the audience can get behind the hero and care about his quest:
“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.
“With ‘God of War’, the studio’s saying, ‘We’re going to spend $150 million to make this movie. We really need to understand this character and get behind him and feel his pain and feel his emotions so that, when he is in these giant set pieces, we’re in there with him and we’re feeling it.’ That is a critique of some of these big action films is that they often get too big and just become noise; you’re not invested in the character.”
To bump up the action level, the Melton and Dustan will also amp up the villainy of the film’s antagonist, Ares:
“In the game, you know, he’s immortal, and he doesn’t really do much besides raid Athens. So we’re trying to build him up a bit more, too, so that he can become a true villain.”
The project is currently without a director as Ratner is no longer attached to direct. While Melton and Dustan are still working on the screenplay, it sounds like they are on the right track and it shouldn’t be long once the script is done for a director to come on board.
You can read the full interview with writing duo over at IGN.
So who would you want to see direct ‘God of War?’