Once movie studios successfully figured out how to adapt comic books, their attention shifted to video games. There have been several recent attempts, and there will be several more in the coming months. However, we're very sad to discover that what may be the best idea for a video game based movie will likely never happen. The Rock almost starred in an R-rated version of the Saints Row game franchise. Unfortunately, fate and a failing business prevented it from ever happening, according to the man who wrote the script.
Dwayne Johnson was very interested at one point. One of the worries, for me anyway, of having a big star like that, was that we'd have to tone things down. This was going to be hard R, balls to the walls. ... In the end, they couldn't get anyone to bite and THQ imploded soon after. The IP got sold off and the new owners didn't seem interested in making a movie. It was frustrating because the process was so fun, to be immersed in that world of larger-than-life gangstas and corrupt corporate tools. A little cartoony, sure, but we had something to say, and this was one movie that I really wanted to see up on the big screen.
Peter Aperlo is most known for writing video games which were based on movies. He was responsible for Watchman: The End is Nigh and 300: March to Glory. However, following the release of Saints Row II the writer was brought in to pen a movie script based on Saints Row. According to Fandom, the script was likely everything that fans of the game would love. The over-the-top tone that the series is known was left intact. An R-rated movie is really the only way to go with Saints Row.
If you're familiar with the Saints Row franchise, you know that "cartoony" is not a derogatory word when it's used here. When the series began, Saints Row was often compared to Grand Theft Auto as both games were open world adventures where you played the part of criminals. However, the longer Saints Row has gone on, the more it has separated itself from GTA, as it has become more and more outrageous. The movie certainly sounds like it would have followed suit. At one point, the script included the main character as a new member of the Third Street Saints who gets initiated into the gang via a reality show. It's just the sort of insanity the games would go for.
Apparently, Peter Aperlo was asked to take his script down from an R-rating to PG-13 at some point after Dwayne Johnson was attached, however, with the bankruptcy of the studio that began the franchise it all became moot.
While it's understandable that getting a seriously R-rated video game movie would be a difficult thing to get a green light for, with the success of R-rated comic book movies, it would seem like now would be the perfect time to revisit something like this. Saints Row has a lot in common with Deadpool. They're both irreverent stories with characters who don't take themselves or their stories, too seriously. Saints Row makes a fair number of jokes at the expense of video games in much the same way Deadpool does comic books.
It's too bad that we'll likely never get to see this movie. Would you buy a ticket to see Saints Row on the big screen? Let us know in the comments.