EXCLUSIVE: Paul Verhoeven Pushes Play On Video Game Adaptation Set In 1914

UPDATE: /Film editor Peter Sciretta rightly points out that a very likely candidate for this adaptation is mystery/adventure game “The Last Express,” created by none other than “Prince of Persia” architect Jordan Mechner. With “Prince” getting a soon-to-release adaptation and Mechner so freshly finished with that movie’s screenplay, I’d frankly be surprised if this adaptation didn’t turn out to be “The Last Express.” Good catch guys.

Paul Verhoeven is a rare genius, the sort that not everyone recognizes. On the surface, works like “Starship Troopers,” “Basic Instinct” and “RoboCop” seem like popcorn blockbusters, but there’s a lot going on beneath the surface for those who choose to look for it. Fans should be excited then that the filmmaker is turning his attention to a medium that has frequently been abused by past Hollywood adaptations: video games.

“I am working on a movie now that is… situated in 1914. Basically, Indiana Jones-ish you could say, but also Hitchcockian,” he explained in a recent interview with MTV’s Josh Horowitz. “We are scripting it. It’s an idea that exists already… from another medium, and so we are making it now into a film narrative.” Which medium, Josh asked. “A game, a video game.”

Unfortunately, Verhoeven is unwilling to reveal the identity of his source material just yet, though the game’s writer is apparently involved in developing it. “The writer of the video game has asked me to keep [the identity of the game] secret until he has a script.”

I conferred with MTV Multiplayer editor Russ Frushtick, and we couldn’t think of too many possibilities with a 1914 setting. Polish import “NecroVisioN” seems unlikely, as it is a World War I-set first-person shooter, and not really in the thriller vein. “Red Dead Redemption,” the upcoming Rockstar Western, is set in the early-1900s, but it also doesn’t feel quite right.

Verhoeven is a longtime fan of Alfred Hitchcock. “Basic Instinct” finds clear inspiration in the master auteur’s work, and there are echoes of him in much of Verhoeven’s Dutch work, such as “The Fourth Man.” The real mystery today is this next movie. Which game could Verhoeven be working on an adaptation of? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below.