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[Movies] Legendary CEO Says Warcraft is Easier to Adapt than Mass Effect
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 03.21.2014

Legendary CEO Thomas Tull recently spoke with IGN about Warcraft, the planned Mass Effect film and more. Check out the highlights:

On the key in coming up with the story structure for Warcraft: "So here's what that boils down to: At Legendary, if our logo's on it, we want it to be great, not just an okay way to spend two hours. So with Warcraft, the reason it took so long to develop is because the world does not need another bad video game movie...Frankly, our attitude from the beginning -- we have an amazing relationship with the guys at Blizzard, and they care very much about their universe as storytellers -- if it were just the game, we would not have known how to make Warcraft, which is a video game experience, into a movie. But, because they've done such an incredible job of building out the lore -- they have something like a hundred books -- there's a real story and deep history behind the characters and races and everything. So that's really what we mined and got into. Like, what are some of the main characters that make this such an interesting universe, and what are the stories that we want to tell? We were finally able to get a script and story that we felt was incredibly compelling, and that's how we're able to get a director like Duncan Jones."

On how they approached the script: "Frankly, the bar for us was not, "Okay, if 50 million people play Warcraft, then I guess we could sell some tickets." It's "Ignore that anybody plays any video game. If there was no such thing and there was no brand, would this be a great movie or not?" If the answer is "No" or "Maybe," then we're not doing it. So that's why we took our time wanting to get it right. We're very excited about the cast we have, and Duncan's such an interesting and gifted filmmaker that it just all came together in that way. So I'm excited for you to see it."

On if there's a RPG element in the film or if it's about creating an immersive experience for the viewer: "It's exactly the second thing. Those are two different experiences: being in an RPG versus seeing a movie -- and trying to be clever and saying, "Let's create some kind of cutting-edge RPG thing." That is scary to me. This is about, can you take this lore and this universe that they've created and turn it into a great movie? If you couldn't answer with a resounding "Yes!" then we simply would not have done it."

On the Mass Effect film: "That's another story that we love, and it's incredibly sprawling and complex. We're not going to screw up Commander Shepard. That's another one of those things where we're being a little bit precious about it, but unless we feel like we can absolutely crack it and know what the movie is, we're just not in the position where we have to make stuff just because we have to. That's the way we treat every one of these. I'm a huge Mass Effect fan. I play. I'm personally a fan of all these different things, and we don't to screw them up, so that's the way we go into these. The bar is very high, and that's just our approach."

On if there's a harder time adapting Mass Effect because of the characters: "Yeah, I think the canon they've created is sophisticated. It's very broad, meaning you can't pitch that in 30 seconds, right? It's a complex story. So it is challenging. If it wasn't challenging, the movie would have been out by now, but it is. We've just got to stick to our guns that, if it's a movie that's going to come from us, we want it to be great. If we can't crack that yet then we just have to keep working."

On trying to connect audiences to the Warcraft world: "I think it's certainly showing audiences -- look, when that trailer comes out, everybody's going to have their own ideas. Our first movie was Batman Begins, and I got asked all kinds of questions about where the Batman franchise was and so forth. And so the trailer came out, and it was like, "Well, this is what Chris Nolan is gonna do." We did the same thing at Comic-Con; we showed a teaser for Godzilla that I think sort of reoriented everybody and said, "Okay, wait a minute. This is going to be something different." I think with Warcraft you'll see that, but it is imperative to us that if you've never played the game, if you don't know anything about it that you're going to go in, and you're going to have a great experience and love these characters. That's exactly -- along with Duncan -- what our plan is."

On the film's tone: "Well, here's what I can say about that: I only know how to do things and make things that I like personally. So, you know, Pacific Rim, for example, I think was a little bit more of a fun tone. So it's not like every time now we just want to say, "Let's take something and make it gritty." But what I would say is, the things that we love as fans and think people are passionate about, whether it's Batman or Godzilla or Superman, we want to treat those in a manner that's serious and not a wink and nod at the camera. That's just not our style or our thing. So if it calls to be a little grittier and edgier, then that's certainly in our comfort zone. But we don't just do that to make sure that everybody says, 'Oh, good. The movie wasn't good, but they were edgy and gritty.'"


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