LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Action filmmaker John
Woo is attached to direct and produce "Ninja Gold," a new
property from the creator of such video games as "Deus Ex,"
"Thief: Deadly Shadows" and "System Shock."
Fox Atomic, the nascent genre arm of 20th Century Fox, will
release the eventual film; Warren Spector, the video game
creator, will executive produce.
"Ninja" centers on a ninja warrior, part of a centuries-old
legacy and bloodline, forced to confront the reality of covert
warfare in the modern world.
"The game concept is actually based on facts that the
Yakuza and the Russian mob are involved in tons of gold being
stolen in South Africa," said Terrence Chang, Woo's production
Added Spector: "The idea actually started with John Woo. He
wanted to do something involving traditional ninjas in a
modern-day setting, and the idea just resonated with me. I was
intrigued with the idea of what happens when the traditional
and the contemporary come into conflict."
Spector said Woo was intimately involved in the creation of
the "Ninja" cast of characters, especially the hero. He said
Woo's input on the basic situations and thematic underpinnings
of the story puts him in a great position to develop the film
property without a lot of assistance from the game creators.
Chang said the film will be more reality-based but still
will have fantastic elements from the game. He said the hope is
to put the film into production next year, but that requires a
script to be completed by then. No timetable or publisher has
been announced for the game.
The collaboration between one of the biggest names in video
games and one of the top action filmmakers took a different
approach to creation. Spector said that typically, someone from
Hollywood shops a film idea around to game publishers and
developers in the hopes of getting a licensed game going.
Somewhat less typically, a game developer will come up with a
game that hits big enough to interest the movie folks.
"What happened with 'Ninja Gold' was very different and, to
my mind, much cooler. I know that my thought from the start was
to develop something that would work just as well in games as
in movies, and I know John was thinking along the same lines,"
Spector said. "This was an attempt to create a concept that
would work in, and be developed for, a variety of media
simultaneously. That's something new for games -- and for
Woo has been at the forefront of the collaboration,
creating his own game studio, Tiger Hill Games, in May 2003.
Through a publishing deal with Midway Games, its first title,
"John Woo's Stranglehold," ships in August for PlayStation 3
and Xbox 360. The game is a virtual sequel to Woo's "Hard
Boiled" and features Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role digitally
for the game. Woo directed the game's motion capture and was
involved in the game's creation.
The PS3 "Stranglehold" Blu-ray Disc will have the game and
the original "Hard Boiled" movie on the same disc. Once the
game has launched, there's the potential for a film based on
the new story.
"We would definitely bring 'Stranglehold' to the big
screen," Chang said. "We want to be very selective about
producing games. We would like game titles to have all kinds of
possibility. Having a movie made from them is certainly a major
consideration for deciding on a title."