So basically, a whole lot of people I know are making “Deus Ex.”
We ran a piece back in July when CBS Films made a deal with Square Enix and Eidos Montreal to adapt “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” for the bigscreen, and I said then that it is a promising property. When I wrote that, I hadn’t played the game yet. So I rented it from GameFly and gave it a try, and pretty quickly realized that while I like the world and the imagery and the kinds of ideas they’re playing with, I haaaaated the game itself. No fun at all. It was just a case of the mechanics being too busy and the mix of stealth and shooting all seemed very clunky, and it’s one of the few games I’ve played where I just bailed out halfway through because nothing about it compelled me to keep playing.
Even so, the world remains fertile, and in some ways, my problems were about the gameplay being less interesting than the world or the characters. I would rather have watched it than played it. Today’s announcement that C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson, the team behind “Sinister,” are going to be handling the co-writing and directing duties for the film is a step in that direction, and now we know the property is in the hands of people who are authentic fans of this stuff.
Cargill is another longtime Ain’t It Cool contributor, and he’s a busy man these days. His first novel arrives on shelves in the spring and it seems he and Derrickson have plenty to keep them busy, with this deal being just one announcement they’re going to be part of in the near future. Derrickson seems to be making a nice recovery after serving his time in director’s jail for the “Day The Earth Stood Still” remake, a clear-cut case of the filmmaker taking the fall for the failure of a whole string of decision-makers on the development food chain. Roy Lee and Adrian Askarieh were announced earlier as producers on the film, and that’s still the configuration. I’ve known Roy since the early days of Ain’t It Cool, and it’s amazing how clear his vision of the landscape was at that point, and how he’s been able to successfully adapt to each of the seismic shifts in what genre films are getting made at any given moment, always driving those shifts to some degree instead of chasing them. He knew the age of the remake was coming before the rest of Hollywood did, and the way he bought rights in those early days helped him build his business quickly. It doesn’t surprise me to see him pushing the video game to movie model, and it makes sense that Adrian would also be in the mix, as he’s been trying to get all sorts of game properties made.
“Deus Ex” deals with human technological augmentation and the main character is a guy who suffers some major trauma in an attack on his company, and who is rebuilt with major mechanical enhancements. By building off of what “Deus Ex” does, Derrickson and Cargill get to play with ideas that are far more interesting than the remake of “Robocop,” which tries to cover similar ground but which has to also grapple with the notion of being a remake.
“Deus Ex” seems like nothing but opportunity, and we’ll see what the guys make of it. I’m as curious about this as I am about the Michael Fassbender “Assassin’s Creed” movie. And, hey, if you’re casting someone who could use a mainstream franchise hit and who can play good moody/haunted and is the right age for Adam Jensen, “Sinister” star Ethan Hawke probably isn’t a bad call. Hmmmmmmm…