Michael Fassbender is a busy guy these days. The German-born thespian is currently slated to appear in director Steve McQueen's next film, "Twelve Years a Slave," and Ridley Scott's "The Counselor." But somewhere in the midst of all that work, he's finding the time to both co-produce and star in the big-screen adaptation of the mega-hit video game "Assassin's Creed."
Now, before you shrug off the announcement as just another entry in the historically pitiful line of game-movie crossovers, here are five reasons to get excited about Fassbender's trip through the Animus:
Fassbender Adds Credibility
How many actors of Fassbender's caliber have starred in a videogame adaptation? Not too many. The actor found major mainstream celebrity after taking on the role of Magneto in "X-Men: First Class," but Fassbender had already impressed audiences two years earlier with his performance as Lieutenant Archie Hicox in "Inglourious Basterds." And that's saying nothing of the unfortunate oversight in not receiving an Oscar nod for his work on "Shame." Obviously, Fassbender's involvement in "Assassin's Creed" does not automatically imply the film's a hit, but it's a step in the right direction.
Game: The Indie Movie
About nine months ago, it seemed as though Sony had already jumped in bed with the new film division of Ubisoft, the developer/publisher behind "Assassin's Creed." According to Variety, the Sony talks are on the back burner, and Ubisoft Motion Pictures is going it alone (with Fassbender producing). One major problem with game-to-film adaptations is the lack of creative control maintained by the game's developer. If you have to pick between a movie produced by a game's creator (a vested interest in the property) or a major studio ("Wing Commander"), it seems like a fairly obvious decision.
Fassbender Pulls Double Duty
Perhaps even more telling than his signing on to star in "Assassin's Creed," Fassbender is also co-producing the film through his DMC Film label. So, while Ubisoft has a clear interest in protecting one of its flagship franchises, it's hard to imagine the actor would back a project so fully without believing there's real potential.
'Assassin's Creed' Has Rich And Varied Canon
Say what you will about the transition of videogame narrative to Hollywood screenplay — it's usually horrid — but "Assassin's Creed," at the very least, offers a broad canvas. The series follows the exploits of Desmond Miles, an unwilling participant in an experiment wherein he's forced to live out the memories of his assassin ancestors. Previous "Creed" games were set in locations like Rome and Constantinople. "Assassin's Creed III," due out this fall, takes place during the American Revolution and features a half-Native American, half-British assassin. It's not immediately clear where Fassbender fits into the character lineup, but there's a ton of opportunity for his talents to shine.
A Great Actor Could Mean A Better Cast
Despite Fassbender's greatness, he can't act out an "Assassin's Creed" film alone — well, without veering into weird, "Nutty Professor" territory, anyway. Fassbender's hot right now, so his involvement could lead to other fine actors jumping onboard. We're not even sure who's directing the movie yet, but as long as it's not Uwe Boll, "Assassin's Creed" is already way ahead of the curve.
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