DAVID HAYTER GUEST BLOG: Whatever Happened To That ‘Metal Gear Solid’ Movie?

UPDATE: David just e-mailed to point out a slight error in this story. “Metal Gear Solid” movie planning next actually reached the script stage. David wrote up a pitch and some notes, which I misconstrued to mean there was a full-blown script. There is not. Plans for a movie fell apart not because of any lack of interest in the pitch, but rather because of the complicated machinery of studio politics.

David Hayter very graciously donated his time last week to serve as the guest editor here on MTV Movies Blog. He was the ideal person to commentate on the state of video game adaptations as the 5/28 release of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” drew closer. The movie is out now, and while it didn’t fare as well at the box office as it could have, it was actually a reasonably solid film, thanks largely to the clever way in which the story wraps up.

Now that it’s out, we can look forward to other upcoming game adaptations. “Kane & Lynch” is incoming. “Hitman 2″ as well. Further out we’ve got “Mass Effect” and “Warcraft.” But whatever happened to “Metal Gear Solid”? Some time ago it was reported that he’d assembled some ideas for an adaptation of the game, a series in which he stars as the voice of Solid Snake. So I asked him: where are those movie plans now?

“They’ve been trying to work out a deal between [creator Hideo Kojima] and [Sony],” he said. “A couple of years ago, a producer friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in doing the adaptation. And I said ‘Of course. I know it pretty well.’ I think I can say without contradiction that I know it better than any screenwriter on the planet. I’ve said every word that Snake has said. So I felt well-qualified.”

A pitch and some associated notes were put together and the wheels started turning. So what happened? Hayter isn’t completely sure; everything he knows, he’s heard secondhand. I hesitate to report those details, other than to say that the plans derailed, at least in part, due to political reasons on Konami’s (the game publisher) side.

Hayter added, “On top of that, I don’t believe they were ever able to successfully close a deal between Mr. Kojima and Sony. This is all just stuff I’ve heard.”

What Hayer can speak to with authority is the work he did. “I did come up with a pitch for the movie which I thought was pretty cool and I would still love to do. But there are far larger issues in terms of who’s going to get the rights to do it and what sort of involvement Mr. Kojima is going to have. All that needs to be worked out before I would ever come up.”

Unfortunately for fans who are chomping at the bit to know more, there’s a big difference between the movie pitch and Hayter being willing to share any details. The initial movie plans might have fallen apart, but the possibility always exists that plans for a “Metal Gear Solid” movie will be revived. For that reason, Hayter is staying mum.

“I really want to spring some things on people,” he explained. “Having been intimately involved with ‘Metal Gear,’ I would like to give people a story that will grab the fans. The fans will know the context that we’re talking about once they see the trailers. They’ll say ‘Oh my god, they’re going there.’ But they won’t quite know how the story is going to unfold or what some of the big surprises are going to be. And that’s really the only way to keep a movie [adaptation] interesting.”