×

‘Dead Space’ Movie Alive and Kicking at Electronic Arts

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.”

More Biz

  • Investigators work the scene of a

    Pilot in Kobe Bryant Crash Said He Was Trying to Get Above Clouds

    The pilot of the helicopter that crashed on Sunday, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, radioed to the tower that he was trying to get above the clouds shortly before the crash, an NTSB official said Monday. Jennifer Homendy, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that the agency would look at [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    Lakers-Clippers Game Postponed In Wake of Kobe Bryant's Death

    UPDATED: This post was updated with TNT’s plans to air a tribute to Bryant.  Tuesday night’s game between the Lakers and Clippers has been postponed indefinitely following the death of Kobe Bryant on Sunday. In a statement, the NBA league office said, “The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is [...]

  • Mimi Haleyi Weinstein trial

    Weinstein Attorney Goes on Offense Against 'Project Runway' Assistant

    Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney went on the attack on Monday afternoon, suggesting that a sex assault accuser had fabricated her claims because it was no longer “in vogue” to be friends with the producer. Miriam Haley testified earlier in the day Monday that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006. [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    Southern California Radio Stations Go Silent in Honor of Kobe Bryant

    Southern California radio stations are holding a moment of silence at noon to honor NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday. The stations dedicated one minute and eight seconds of silence to Bryant. The eight extra seconds are a reference to his original jersey number. The Southern California Broadcasters Association gave specific instructions on [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at court for

    Weinstein Defense Makes Third Request for a Mistrial

    Harvey Weinstein’s defense team filed a formal request for a mistrial on Monday, arguing that numerous judicial errors have hopelessly prejudiced the jury. The motion was the third request for a mistrial since the proceedings got underway earlier this month. In the motion, defense lawyer Damon Cheronis argued that Annabella Sciorra had given hearsay testimony [...]

  • ICM Partners

    ICM Partners Promotes Six Agents to Partner Status

    ICM Partners has promoted six agents to partner status. ICM’s partner class of 2020 features four women and two men drawn from disciplines across the agency: Courtny Catzel (Non-Scripted), Di Glazer (Theater), Shade Grant (Non-Scripted), Andrea Johnson (Concerts), Craig Shapiro (Talent) and Howie Tanenbaum (TV). The promotions bring the number of partners at ICM to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content