×

Fassbender game for ‘Assassin’s Creed’

Thesp to star in, co-produce bigscreen adaptation of vidgame

Michael Fassbender will star in and co-produce “Assassin’s Creed,” the bigscreen adaptation of Ubisoft’s videogame franchise, through his DMC Film banner.

While Fassbender’s profile has risen with roles in “X-Men: First Class,” “Shame,” “Haywire,” “Prometheus,” and will next be seen in “The Counselor” and “Twelve Years a Slave,” thesp also has spent the past year developing films with Conor McCaughan through their new shingle. Together, they produced the short “Pitch Black Heist.”

“Assassin’s Creed” is the duo’s most high-profile project, given that the game is Ubisoft’s biggest franchise, selling over 30 million units since 2007. A third “Assassin’s Creed” game bows Oct. 30 and is set during the American Revolution. First two take place during the Crusades and Renaissance. Altogether there have been a total of nine games released across various platforms.

Plot revolves around a man who learns his ancestors were trained assassins after he is kidnapped by a secret org with ties to the Knights Templar, and sent back in time to retrieve historical artifacts.

Michael Fassbender was our first choice” to play the franchise’s iconic hooded hero, said Jean-Julien Baronnet, CEO of Paris-based Ubisoft Motion Pictures. “Michael (Fassbender) is an extremely smart, talented, versatile and committed actor.”

Last fall, Ubisoft was in talks with Sony to develop a series of “Assassin’s” pics (Daily Variety, Oct. 20, 2011). But the companies have since put negotiations on hold.

Ubisoft execs now plan to stick to their initial plan and develop the film independently in order to maintain greater creative control. Last year, Ubisoft invested in launching UMP, headed by Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, to adapt the company’s games into films, TV shows and digital projects.

While Sony could still wind up distribing the films, UMP will package the project with a writer and director before resuming talks with the studio.

“We’re open to re-discuss with the key studios once the production package is finalized,” Baronnet told Variety.

Ubisoft also is looking to raise financing for the tentpole through foreign presales and co-production deals, which again could again involve Sony.

“Whatever the financial model, UMP will limit its risk investment,” and will save on production costs by turning to its 26 in-house game studios like Hybride Technologies, to handle visual effects work, Baronnet said.

Ubisoft sees adaptations as a way to turn its games into larger brands that will get the titles in front of more consumers while creating lucrative new revenue sources for the company. One of its first projects is an animated TV series based on the “Raving Rabbids” franchise that will air on Nickelodeon. Ubisoft chief Yves Guillemot also wants to develop films for the games “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.”

By controlling more of the creative through UMP, Ubisoft hopes it doesn’t wind up with another “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” adapted by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer. Pic earned a disappointing $335 million worldwide, with just $91 million of that in the U.S. last year, ending any franchise dreams.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Sarajevo, Intl. Casting Directors Network Look

    Sarajevo Film Festival and International Casting Directors Network Look to Launch Local Stars

    The Intl. Casting Directors Network (ICDN) and the Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to turn the popular Bosnian film fest into a springboard for regional actors looking to launch international careers. After kicking off with a pilot version last year, the initiative expanded to include a series of masterclasses with leading casting directors and [...]

  • Kristen Stewart Underwater

    Watch Kristen Stewart Fight Sea Monsters in 'Underwater' Trailer

    Vampires, ghosts and now sea monsters? Clearly there is no monster actress Kristen Stewart cannot tame. In the first trailer for the submerged thriller “Underwater,” Stewart is a member an stranded submarine crew. The trailer begins with the radio message: “You are now 5,000 miles from land and you are descending seven miles to the [...]

  • Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo

    Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo Competition Film ‘Heidi’

    A leading figure of the Romanian New Wave, Cătălin Mitulescu has had a heralded career since winning the Palme d’Or for his 2004 short film “Traffic.” His first two features, “The Way I Spent the End of the World” (2006) and “Loverboy” (2011), both premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. He also co-produced and [...]

  • Betty Gilpin'Stuber' film premiere, Arrivals, Regal

    'GLOW' Star Betty Gilpin in Talks to Join Chris Pratt in 'Ghost Draft' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fresh off her Emmy nomination for Netflix’s “GLOW,” Betty Gilpin has found her next project. The actress is in talks to join Chris Pratt in “Ghost Drama,” a sci-fi action film from Skydance and Paramount. Gilpin would join a cast that also includes “Handmaid’s Tale” star Yvonne Strahovski. Directed by “Lego Batman” filmmaker Chris McKay [...]

  • Stephan Komandarev on Sarajevo Player ‘Rounds’

    Director Stephan Komandarev on Sarajevo Player ‘Rounds’ and His Bulgarian Trilogy

    Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev earned critical acclaim for his 2017 feature “Directions,” which was selected for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. The first installment in a planned trilogy about the social inequality and moral ills plaguing both Bulgaria and Europe at large, the film followed six cab drivers over the course of 24 hours as [...]

  • Meryl Streep Best Movie Lines

    HBO Max Lands Steven Soderbergh's Next Film Starring Meryl Streep

    HBO Max has picked up Steven Soderbergh’s next film, the comedy “Let Them All Talk” starring Meryl Streep. Joining Streep in the ensemble cast are Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan. The screenplay was written by short story author and MacArthur Fellow recipient Deborah Eisenberg. It’s the story of a celebrated author [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen Drops Introspective Trailer for 'Western Stars' Film

    While initial reports about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming documentary around his recent “Western Stars” album said that it would essentially be a concert film, the first trailer for it, which dropped today, suggests it’s going to be a more introspective outing, more in line with his autobiographical performances at “Springsteen on Broadway” in 2017 and 2018, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content