‘Dead Space’ Movie Alive and Kicking at Electronic Arts

Dead Space Videogame

Video game publisher taking control of film's development

Electronic Arts is breathing new life into plans to adapt its sci-fi horror videogame “Dead Space” into a potential film franchise.

Justin Marks helped develop the story for the film that Neal Moritz will co-produce. The producer had been attached to “Dead Space” for more than three years, from when DJ Caruso was eyeing the project as a directing vehicle.

Europa Report”-scribe Philip Gelatt wrote a version of the script that EA will develop with another screenwriter.

EA and DreamWorks recently wrapped production on “Need for Speed,” a racing actioner, starring Aaron Paul, that’s based on another successful game franchise for the publisher.

After seeing several of its projects languish in development with producers or studios around Hollywood, EA chose to fund development of the “Need for Speed” script, by George and John Gatins and George Nolfi, and shop it to studios itself. DreamWorks jumped at the chance to produce the film that Disney will distribute on March 14. Scott Waugh directed the film.

SEE ALSO: Ford’s Mustang Races to ‘Need for Speed’

The publisher’s Patrick O’Brien, who oversees EA’s film adaptations, said by taking more control over how its films are developed, it can push the projects forward faster toward a greenlight and have more of a say in what the final film will look like creatively.

It’s similar to a move other publishers like Ubisoft are making with their own adaptations. That company has “Assassin’s Creed,” “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” set up at New Regency and Fox and Warner Bros.

EA and Marks discussed development on “Dead Space” during a panel discussion on videogame adaptations at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday.

“We decided we have to pitch the projects as scripts,” O’Brien said. “EA was batting 0 for 5 before we began funding scripts. We’ve had our knocks in the studio system,” with the executive saying he’s learned from the experience in trying to get “The Sims,” “Spore,” “Mass Effect,” “Army of Two” and “Dante’s Inferno” made into movies.

After DreamWorks picked up “Need for Speed,” it spent another six months developing the script with the company. “They made it a hell of a lot better,” O’Brien said.

But companies like EA have to know what kind of film they want to make when approaching studios. “You don’t want to go in with just an idea and be one of 200 projects. We decided we have to change the model and go in with a script.”

O’Brien realizes EA still won’t be able to control fully how adaptations of its games wind up on screen unless it chooses to replicate Marvel Studios old model and fully finance its films. Instead, it’s opting to partner with filmmakers and studios that have the same vision.

“You can’t control every aspect unless you put up the entire budget,” said O’Brien, who aims to set up “Dead Space” at a studio once the final version of the script is completed.

The first “Dead Space” game was released in 2008, with sequels bowing in 2011 and 2013. Games follow engineer Isaac Clarke who battles reanimated human corpses on board a mining spacecraft. Property has spawned a direct-to-homevideo anime film and novels, as well as consumer products line of merchandise.

During the Comic-Con panel Marks cautioned that the adaptation shouldn’t faithfully replicate the action in the game on the bigscreen.

Marks’ credits include adapting the game “Street Fighter” into “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” and graphic novel “Hack/Slash.” The scribe, repped by CAA, recently landed a live action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” at Disney, for whom he also penned a version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

“You would be making ‘Event Horizon’ or ‘Alien,'” he said. “I’ve already seen that movie.” Instead, the challenge is to tell the main character’s story in a way “that’s new and intriguing.”

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  1. Bradley says:

    Here its 2017, and no movie…..sigh.

  2. John Marchant says:

    If you are going to make a film based on the games plot in dead space and give the movie the games story, look, and feel… Then I would buy the hell out of it and watch it til my eyes bleed. Such a great game. I think it would make an even better movie… Trust me. Thrillers like the purge and paranormal activity have such a huge cult following… This is like firefly meets 28 days later… I would direct the dead space silver screen debut… And watch faithfully if I just get to see it. It’s a compelling story, great game, and an even better nail biter than Ridley Scott’s alien… Studios have the technology… EA has the money… And trust me… You have the gamers as fans and potential audiences for this franchise. To not film it… Would be stupid in my opinion.

  3. If it’s going to happen it needs to be directed by Carpenter, Fincher, or Cronenberg.

  4. Can John Carpenter direct this?! Pleeeeassse!

  5. ryan says:

    well now that ea has more control over it, it would be an insult to not have gunner wright return as issac but this time he actually gets to be the character without mo cap.

  6. It would be awesome if a Dead Space movie would be produced. I am an ardent Dead Space fan and would be the first people in line to see its debut.

  7. Frank says:

    I assume one of the reasons they don’t make the movies exactly like the games is because fans already know the plot by heart, BUT, they change them too much! Imagine how good movies like Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and many others would have been if they had kept the same plot instead of changing (i.e. messing up) everything. I love the DS games but I have real doubts about a movie being worth watching.

  8. I’m assuming its live action. I’m glad that headspace lived on…after dead space 4 was canceled , I cried …im a huge fan…but this is still good…I miss Isaac

    • ryan says:

      dead space 4 is not cancelled it is just on hold because ea was working on other projects. The developers said it was not dead by any means just not a priority for quite awhile. New articles have been written about them talking about wanting to bring dead space to xbone and ps4

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