ĎSplinter Cellí Movie Aims to Distance Itself from Bond, Bourne, and Video Game Adaptations

While Ubisoftís Assassinís Creed adaptation didnít make an eagle dive a big splash at the domestic box office, a relatively strong international performance kept the Michael Fassbender-starrer from being a write-off and turned it into a decent earner. The film continues its rollout in China and Japan in February and March respectively, but Ubisoft isnít waiting on the final numbers to move ahead with their next video game adaptation: Splinter Cell.

The Tom Clancy-inspired/endorsed video game franchise is already set up to star Tom Hardy in the lead, and will be produced in part by Basil Iwanyk. Our own Steve Weintraub had a chance to sit down with Iwanyk for his part in John Wick: Chapter 2 and managed to get some timely updates on the state of the stealth-action movie. The good news for fans is that this thing is still a go, even though we havenít heard any news on its progress in some time; the bad news is that Iím not sure just how much the Splinter Cell movie will resemble its video game namesake.

First up, it looks like Splinter Cell is waiting for script approval and the go-ahead from Hardy before entering into production:

Collider: Are you still producing Splinter Cell?

Basil Iwanyk: I am. Weíve got a script. Itís a little long, but itís the best script weíve had. Now that Iím back from Mexico City, weíre going in there to figure out how to cut some pages and give it to [Tom] Hardy. This draft kind of addressed Tomís notes. Weíre going to give it to Hardy in the next couple of weeks and hopefully try to get it done this year.
And as I previously mentioned, the box office performance of earlier video game adaptations arenít a big concern for this adaptation, as far as Iwanyk is concerned:

Does the financial box office of Assassinís Creed play into Splinter Cell or are these separate things?

Iwanyk: Theyíre separate kind of things. The story of the financial success of Assassinís Creed is yet to be told because we do live in an international world; itís still rolling out. Assassinís Creed had a very specific world to it and a very specific storyline, character, all that stuff. Splinter Cell really is a first-person shooter game. And so the challenge of making Splinter Cell interesting was we didnít have this IP with a very specific backstory. That allowed us to make up our own world and really augment and fill out the characters. I donít think one applies to the other because I donít think our movie will feel like a movie that came out of a video game, I think itíll feel like a badass, Tom Hardy action movie, which is what we wanted.

Hereís where Iíll have to disagree a little bit, and Iím assuming that Splinter Cell fans will, too. The series centers on Sam Fisher, a character with a well-established background, personality, physical appearance, and relationships, all set in a realistic modern world with very real and complex problems. In short, unless the movie is going completely off-book, thereís enough existing IP here to draw from. That being said, Tom Hardy could make a very convincing Sam Fisher:

Tom Hardy has talked about, for years now, Splinter Cell, and I think heís a gamer.

Iwanyk: He is a gamer. Heís also a guy who has a lot of friends in that world, not the gaming world but the Special Ops world. He wants to play this character really, really badly. Thatís what makes it exciting for all of us because Tom playing this character is an event.

Splinter Cell, the first-person shooter series that emphasizes stealth operations but also relies on a good amount of ďneutralizing the bad guysĒ, is a military-themed action franchise. Itís got that in common with The Hurt Locker, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lone Survivor, to draw from recent cinematic history. What do those films have that Splinter Cell probably wonít? An R rating:

Do you envision this as an R-rated kind of thing?

Iwanyk: No, but weíre definitely going to make it a hard PG-13. No, itís not going to be like [John] Wick, but itís going to be badass.

Did you guys look at a real-world event to go with or what are you digging towards for this story?

Iwanyk: Itís more of what weíre digging away from. The good and the bad news is that, obviously, the Bond movies have had a resurgence and the Jason Bourne movies are the Jason Bourne movies, so weíre trying to stay away from those movies in terms of tone, in terms of bad guys, in terms of settings. Whatís a world that we havenít seen yet? Whatís an area of the world and a conflict that we havenít really touched upon in movies in a long time, to make it feel fresh?
A good question. Hopefully we get to find out the answer soon!
If you look at past projects based on video games it seems like there is little hope for this movie, but who knows.