Director set for videogame adaptation

Len Wiseman is suiting up to direct New Line’s “Gears of War,” based on Microsoft and Epic Games’ hit vidgame.

Chris Morgan is penning a new draft of the actioner that Stuart Beattie originally tackled. Scribe’s credits include Universal’s upcoming “Wanted” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”

Fanboys have been speculating for nearly a year that Wiseman may helm the project; the game was featured in his most recent pic, “Live Free or Die Hard.” But talks with New Line took place only over the last several months.

Wiseman will develop the story with Morgan. The two are also collaborating on the sci-fi action thriller “Shell Game” at Lakeshore Entertainment and Columbia Pictures. Wiseman, who established himself in the biz as an art director on pics like “Godzilla” and “Independence Day,” is also producing the third installment of Screen Gems’ “Underworld” franchise after having helmed the first two.

“Gears” revolves around a world reeling from an invasion by aliens known as the Locust, and a small team of elite soldiers who fight to retake the planet Sera and save its human inhabitants.

New Line landed the rights to create a bigscreen version of the game last year, with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey producing via their Temple Hill banner. “Gears” lead designer Cliff Bleszinski will exec produce the film and consult on its development for Epic.

“Gears” is Microsoft’s second-biggest seller after the “Halo” franchise, and gamemaker Epic always intended to branch out the property into various media, such as films and novels, with an extensive backstory it developed.

A sequel game to “Gears’” first outing in late 2006, which was available for the Xbox 360 only, will ship in November. The game has sold more than 5 million copies.

New Line had initially aimed for a summer 2009 release for the pic, but further development on the project now will likely delay that plan.

“It’s like with our games, you can have it right or have it right now,” said Epic Games topper Mark Rein. “We want to get it right. There’s no timetable for us. We just want to make as good a movie as we can, and we think (Wiseman’s) the guy who will do it.”

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