A while back I caught wind of the upcoming Need For Speed movie by DreamWorks. I was understandably skeptical about what the result will be. However a glimmer of hope was shone upon the film today as it was announced that Michael Keaton will be joining the cast as a “reclusive, eccentric host of an underground supercar race”. Why does this give me hope? Because Michael Keaton is freaking awesome that’s why! This dude is the only guy other than Christan Bale to play Batman more than once. Also, remember Beetlejuice? And Mr. Mom? This guy rocks!
Anyhow, along with this announcement came with details about the plot, which sounds very similar to the plot in Need For Speed: The Run. The story goes that a young street racer partners with some arrogant rich guy. Only, the rich guy frames the young street racer for a crime and the kid ends up going to prison. After he does his time he is looking for revenge on the guy who framed him by joining the aforementioned underground race (maybe to get money so he can stick it to his betrayer?). Anyway when the racer’s former partner learns of this he puts a bounty on the racer’s head which brings all the crazies out of the woodwork who attempt to take the hero of the story out at every turn along the cross country race.
If that sounds a little convoluted to you I will break it down this way: Think Cannonball Run mixed with Fast & The Furious with a little Redline thrown in. You can see now why I thought this would be a recipe for disaster but with the addition of Keaton I have some hope.
Although I guess I have a little more fear too. This flick better not tarnish the reputation of Michael Keaton! The man is a national treasure! Also hes BATMAN! You guys at DreamWorks better do this right!
Ok, so unless you have been hiding in a cave for the last 12 hours, you probably already know that this morning the iPhone 5 was officially announced and revealed to scores of drooling hipsters. I am not really much of an Apple device fan so for the most part I didn’t care, until I heard that the first video game demonstrated on the iPhone 5 was the third installment of the popular Real Racing series “Real Racing 3″.
The increased graphics performance of the iPhone 5 allowed Firemonkeys (the development team behind Real Racing 3) to create a racing game with visuals that rival some of the stuff out for home consoles today. Again, I am the last person to ever buy an Apple product but I have to say I am impressed with this game. Scroll down if you want to see the official trailer.
When the well of creativity starts to run dry, the “savvy” minds of the entertainment industry will commonly take an existing creative property and try to convert it to a new medium in hopes to rake in cash by finding a “new audience” for said property. This happens all the time i.e. books made into movies, TV shows made into comic books, movies made into video games, comic books made into movies, movies made into video games, and fimally video games made into movies.
The key to this story is that last item on the list. You see the practice of turning video game properties into movies comes with a bit of a “curse”. For one reason or another video games and movies really do not seem to like each other. Most of the time when there is a video game based on a movie, it really sucks. Likewise when a movie comes along that is based on a video game, it also sucks. Does anyone remember John Leguizamo’s riveting portrayal of “Luigi” in the critically acclaimed Mario Bros. movie? Then there was the time someone thought it was a good idea to make a movie based on the popular first person shooter “DOOM”. Remember how great that turned out? Then there is my personal favorite, when Hollywood dug its claws into Street Fighter and completely ruined it not once, but twice.
The latest victim-err-”prospect” of this practice is Electronic Arts (EA) Games popular Need For Speedracing game series. It was recently announced by EA Games that it has reached a deal with Dreamworks Studios in which Dreamworks gained the film rights to Need For Speed. The film is slated for a 2014 release and is set to start production early next year. As far as the style of the film Dreamworks says it will be “a fast-paced, high-octane film rooted in the tradition of the great car culture films of the ’70s while being extremely faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise.” AKA “Red Flag #1“
Set to direct the film is Scott Waugh who recently directed the film Act of Valorwhich starred active-duty NAVY SEALs. That seems promising right? Well, while the concept of Act of Valor was awesome, in relative terms it actually kind of bombed in the box office. Also before directing that film Mr. Waugh was associated with such “hits” as Torque, The Italian Job(the Marky Mark version), and Biker Boyz. Ahem, Red Flag #2…
Writing the screenplay for the film is George Gatins who’s most recent work was the comedy Shes Out Of My League, which was actually pretty good. However, all of Gatins previous work consists purely of romantic-comedies and only one of which (Shes Out Of My League) was feature length. So, we have a rookie rom-com screen writer suddenly jumping into the “fast-paced, high-octane” action genre? Lets just call that “Red Flag #3“
I know it seems like I am condemning this movie before a second of film has even been shot, and that is mostly because I am. But hey, who knows? Maybe I will be completely wrong about this movie. Maybe Dreamworks, Mr. Waugh, and Mr. Gatins will find a way to make this movie completely different from the five (going on six) Fast And Furious films that came before it. And maybe, just maybe they will manage to break the “video game movie curse” I mentioned earlier and this film will be a success with both audiences and film critics alike.
To quote one of my favorite films “And maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt…”
DreamWorks Studios Picks up Need for Speed from EA
George Gatins Wrote Adaptation of Top-Selling Video Game Franchise
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DreamWorks Studios has acquired the feature film rights to EA’s (NASDAQ: EA) popular video game franchise, Need for Speed™,it was announced jointly today by DreamWorks CEO and Co-Chair Stacey Snider and EA President of Studios Frank Gibeau.
Brothers George and John Gatins developed the original story with George writing the feature’s screenplay. The screenplay is based on the Need for Speedseries, but is not based on an individual game. EA will produce along with John Gatins and Mark Sourian. Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) is attached to direct, and the project will be fast-tracked at DreamWorks with a target production start date for early next year, for a 2014 release.
The film adaptation will be a fast-paced, high-octane film rooted in the tradition of the great car culture films of the 70s while being extremely faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise. In Need for Speed, the cars are hot, the racing is intense and the story keeps players at the edge of their seat.
“I’m excited about getting back into the creative trenches with John and George Gatins and my partners at EA to bring to life an exhilarating script based on an epic video game that seems to have been made for the movies,” said Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Chairman. “This is a big piece of business for DreamWorks and we are grateful to Frank Gibeau, Pat O’Brien, Kevin Maher and John and George for choosing us to deliver their goods.”
“George, John and EA brought a very compelling story to us which we believe is going to make a fun, cool movie franchise,” said Stacey Snider, CEO and Co-Chair of DreamWorks. “With such a large following around the globe, we’re excited to make a film that does justice to the popular underlying video game series.”
“We are thrilled to be in business with our friends Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and the entire DreamWorks team,” said Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels. “They are the perfect partner to take Need for Speed to the big screen by creating the exciting action film that we have always envisioned.”
“It’s fantastic to be working with a team that shares not only our love of cars, but also our passion for creating blockbuster action experiences. This collaboration will be greatly enhanced with the team at DreamWorks – which is a great home for the Need for Speed franchise,” said Patrick Soderlund, Executive Vice President, EA Games Label. Added Pat O’Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment: “Working with John and George to develop the script has truly been an outstanding experience.”
Need for Speed is the premier racing game in the video game industry and one of EA’s best-selling video game franchises. Since the release of the first title, the series has sold more than 140 million units worldwide, generating an estimated $4 billion in retail revenue, making it one of the biggest franchises in video gaming.
Need for Speedserves as a reunion with both George Gatins and John Gatins with DreamWorks. George was an executive producer on the studio’s 2010 film “She’s Out of My League.” John’s previous projects with DreamWorks include the 2005 film “Dreamer” which he wrote and directed. He also wrote the script for last year’s “Real Steel” and has been working on the script for its sequel. He recently wrote the script for “Flight” which will be released by Paramount later this year.
Both EA and John and George Gatins are represented by UTA, who negotiated the deal.