Andres Muschietti, the Argentinian filmmaker who brought us Mama back in 2013, is the latest director linked to the in-development adaptation of artsy videogame Shadow of the Colossus for Sony Pictures.
Deadline reports Muschietti will replace Josh Trank, who was attached to the adaptation of the classic PlayStation 2 game back in 2012. Trank presumably had to pass on the project when his dance card started filling up with titles like The Fantastic Four and an upcoming Star Wars spinoff. Bringing game designer Fumito Ueda’s work to the screen was a dream project for the Chronicle director from the moment he first played Shadow of the Colossus back in 2005.
Films based on videogames have yet to gain much traction in Hollywood, and while Shadow of the Colossus could potentially change that, it’s not going to be a simple title to translate to the screen. The story revolves around a young man grieving for the loss of his one true love. Outraged, he travels into a forbidden land and makes a deal with a supernatural entity to bring her back. The cost of this favor is the extinction of 16 Colossi – giant creatures roaming the beautifully desolate landscape of the game’s world. The protagonist is all too eager to please, but soon wonders if perhaps he’s being used…
The game is one of the landmark titles of the PlayStation 2 era, and one of the rare games (along with its predecessor, Ico) that’s always cited as soon as the "are videogames art?" debate starts. Shadow of the Colossus’ world is sparse and beautiful, but the game has almost no dialogue, and aside from the main character and the giant Colossi he must scale and kill, almost no other characters. Part of the reason it works so well is because it allows the player to project a lot of their own emotions into what’s happening. That’s something that will be much more difficult to accomplish on film.
Muschietti is an intriguing choice to helm, given that he’s already worked with ghostly apparitions in Mama, a film that made almost $150 million in global ticket sales off a minuscule $15 million budget. Hanna screenwriter Seth Lochhead has the challenging job of figuring out how to bring the game’s experience to a screen without losing the magic of Shadow of Colossus in the process. While the film’s central premise of a young man taking on 16 gigantic beasts wandering a desolate landscape might sound like interesting action film fodder, Colossus is not that sort of experience – and fans will be angry if a film version seeks to turn it into something along those lines.
News of Shadow of the Colossus moving forward adds one more title to an increasingly more crowded videogame movie slate. The project now sits alongside other game-based in-development properties like World of Warcraft, Uncharted, and Metal Gear Solid.