Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
In March 2007, New Line Cinema announced they would be making a big screen adaptation of Microsoft’s popular video game Gears of War. Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl screenwriter Stuart Beattie was hired to pen a script after turning in a 21-page treatment. A few months later Live Free or Die Hard helmer Len Wiseman came aboard the project to direct. Wiseman worked on the script with Wanted scribe Chris Morgan for a year, before moving on to Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered Glass).
LA Times now reports that Wiseman is moving on, after having the budget slashed in half. He is now officially signed on to direct the apocalyptic thriller Nocturne, a project he was developing for 20th Century Fox.
[The film] was to be a multi-generational epic with a big-canvas feel. But the studio has now cut the budget, going from a film that would have cost more than $100 million to one that will cost a good chunk less than that. It’s also reined in the story, turning it into a more simple, straight-ahead invasion story instead of a sprawling epic. Producers are looking for a new writer to handle all this, but haven’t found one yet. And Wiseman, while technically still attached, will likely not be a part of it when all is said and done.
The cost cutting could be seen in an interview producer Wyck Godfrey gave in late 2009. He explains that they were trying to decide if the movie should take place in the time period of the games—in a war-torn post-Emergence Day world—or, if they should start off earlier and depict a peaceful time that’s shattered by the events of Emergence Day.
Gears of War follows the soldiers of Delta Squad as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as The Locust Horde. The player assumes the role of Marcus Fenix, a former prisoner and war-hardened soldier. In cooperative play, the second player plays as Fenix’s friend and fellow soldier, Dominic Santiago (Dom). The two soldiers join up with Delta Squad and battle the Locust Horde through the course of an action-packed campaign.
As for Nocture, here is what we know about the project:
- Post Apocalyptic: The story is set after the end of the world, and follows a group of survivors.
- The Twist: The film is about “the mystery surrounding how they got to that position” And before you think this is just another post apocalyptic disaster film, ala 2012, the piece mentions that the film is a “thriller.”
- Original: The pitch is based on a completely original idea (ie not a remake, adaptation or sequel). The title may change.
- Who’s Involved: Len Wiseman wrote and directed Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, and last directed Live Free or Die Hard. Wiseman is also attached to the underwater military action film Atlantis Rising and the futuristic war movie Shrapnel but doesn’t have a greenlight on any of the projects.
- Screenwriters: Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children of Men) are writing a new draft, working off a version from Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore (Red Dawn, Missing in Action).
Sounds like an interesting concept. If Wiseman has one strength it is his pre-directing background in prop and production design, which couldn’t hurt a movie set after the end of the world. I’d assume that the end of the world will be visually intensive. No more details have been revealed, so we don’t know if the story is set in space after Earth is destroyed, or set on Earth after most of the inhabitants have been killed.