Michael Fassbender would like you to know: He is only too aware that movie adaptations of video games, as a genre, have a piss-poor box-office track record. In point of fact, he could not shut out that awareness even if he tried. “I’m aware of that because every single article that’s ever written about us asks, ‘Will Assassin’s Creed be the first successful video game-to-movie?'” Fassbender told me from the film’s set in southern Spain last December.
That is to say, the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave actor has been duly informed of the financial under-performance of such craptacular game-to-cinema fiascos as 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Super Mario Bros., Wing Commander (1999), and 2008’;s Max Payne. But here he is, pulling double duty as star and co-producer of the big screen blow-up of the blockbuster video game franchise Assassin’s Creed. And in terms of conception and execution, he insists the new film—which reunites Fassbender with acclaimed Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel, who directed him in the Cannes Film Festival-anointed 2015 adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth—will forefront storytelling and character and shed much of the gaminess that has plagued so many other movie translations to date.
“We took elements from the video game that are the spine and DNA of what we’re doing,” Fassbender said. “But we really are breaking away from a video-game mold. That’s been a problem with some of the efforts before.”
Arriving in a season crowded with splashy Christmas releases—the Chris Pratt/J. Law vehicle Passengers, animated animal romp Sing, Martin Scorsese’s messiah-complex period piece Silence, and Star Wars standalone Rogue One among them—Assassin’s Creed finds Fassbender portraying Callum Lynch. Lynch is a misunderstood drifter-loner who’s about to receive a death-row lethal injection when he is rescued by a shadowy extra-governmental organization with seemingly unlimited technological resources and an even more shadowy agenda. Read More