James Wan has come a long way since emerging onto the filmmaking scene 13 years ago with a little horror film about two men locked in a dilapidated bathroom called Saw. Since then, that single movie has expanded into an eight-film franchise and he’s gone on to direct the first two Insidious films and The Conjuring films, which has produced two spinoffs of it’s own: Annabelle and The Nun, all of which he is still a producer of. He made the jump to Hollywood tentpole films with Furious 7 in 2015, is currently filming Aquaman and is next set to helm the live-action Robotech adaptation. Wan’s producing credits have extended but remained primarily in the horror genre with films like Demonic, Lights Out, and the upcoming Lights Out 2 & The Entity. But it looks like his forray into big budget films is leading to more high profile projects.
It was previously reported last year that Wan would be producing a new reboot of Mortal Kombat after the version with Kevin Tancharoen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mortal Kombat: Legacy) at the helm and screenwriter Oren Uziel (Freaks of Nature, 22 Jump Street) stalled out. Screenwriter Greg Russo is rewriting the script, but it’s unknown if any of Uziel’s draft will be kept, but he recently came forward and revealed the direction they were heading in:
“Well, and again I don’t know what remains of this, but I know that it was going to be—it’s almost like if you took The Avengers, or if you took a storyline like that and set it in a sort of hard-R, over-the-top violence and hard-edged world of Mortal Kombat. It was a little bit like that, it was a little bit like a Wanted-type story that brought together a bunch of these characters and just pulled zero punches, and had a tone that was still fun but very dark.”
An R-rated Avengers sounds like an amazing premise, which is basically where the video games are at right now and has led to the Injustice series. As Uziel stated, it’s unclear if that’s the direction Wan and Russo will continue in.
Wan has expressed his excitement in working with these characters and this world that he likens to as a “fantasy version, the video game version, of Enter the Dragon,” describing it as “really mythical, bigger world that lives on another dimension on top of ours.”
The director/producer also spoke on not rushing the film out and the importance of making sure they tackle the property correctly.
“The key here is to try and do it right. I don’t want to rush into it. So right now, we’re just trying to take our time to make sure it’s heading in the right direction. I think that’s more important than trying to rush through it and pump up something that no one likes.”
Last week, just as Resident Evil: The Final Chapter hit Blu Ray & DVD, Screen Gems announced that they would be completely rebooting the franchise, paving way for a new director and star, after Milla Jovovich has starred in all 6 films as original character Alice; with her husband Paul W.S. Anderson having directed 4 of those. With the games having sort of gone in the directions of the films – focusing on action over suspense – with Resident Evil 5 & 6 (the recent seventh game has gone back to its survivor horror roots, featuring a completely brand new cast), the time might just be ripe for the studio to try again and do it closer to the actual games this time around. Greg Russo will also be scripting this film as well, so Wan must have liked what he did with the Mortal Kombat script. The two are also pairing on Robotech together.
Video game films still haven’t found the acclaim and artistic merit their comic book brethren have, but they’re powering through until they do. Recent outings such as Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed sought to do the job, but fell short in a lot of areas. Here’s hoping under James Wan’s guidance, it will finally come to fruition.