Michael Fassbender stars in game-to-movie adaptation of ‘Assassin’s Creed’

The action-packed and breathtaking game-to-movie adaptation “Assassin’s Creed” starring Michael Fassbender follows dual characters Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nehra in the modern day and 15th Century Spain respectively. In the 15th Century, Aguilar is joined by Maria, a more experienced Assassin than him, who is his most trusted ally. In the modern day, Cal finds himself at the Abstergo facility with a rag-tag bunch of fellow inmates who are all suffering from the effects of prolonged exposure to the Animus, and have their own ancestral Assassin legacies.

From the onset, director Justin Kurzel was adamant about filming as much of “Assassin’s Creed” as possible without relying on green screens and computer-generated imagery.

As one of the video gaming industry’s most popular and beloved franchises, “Assassin’s Creed” is famous for its heart-pounding action sequences. The series was among the first to prominently feature Parkour as a major gameplay element, with Assassins breathlessly vaulting over the rooftops of cities including Jerusalem, Florence, Paris and London.

“We’re shooting a lot with real people, in real locations, on top of real churches with real light,” Kurzel said. “We’re building a lot of the sets to make something that is real and cinematic.”

“There’s very little green screen in this, which is highly unusual in these films,” adds Fassbender. “We have stunt guys jumping across buildings in [Maltese capital] Valletta. We’ve got (stunt man Damian Walters) doing a 120-foot leap of faith, without any rope, into a bag, so it’s pretty incredible to see.”

assassins-creed-movie

For his big-screen adaptation, Kurzel sought to amplify that dizzying style with thundering carriage chases, elaborate sword fights, and close hand-to-hand combat. The director also realized the film had to prominently feature the Leap of Faith, a signature Assassin’s Creed move in which Assassins leap from the edge of buildings and plummet gracefully to the ground below, landing on their backs in water or bales of hay. “What happens if you do a real Leap of Faith?” Kurzel asked. “What would happen if you actually saw Assassins jump from building to building? The great thing about cinema is that you can bring that human element into it, where the audience responds and reacts to the idea that they are watching real human beings actually put the effort and danger in doing those things.”

Kurzel and his team tapped some of the top Parkour talents to determine how to stage the action of Assassin’s Creed without relying on extensive CG trickery. The production then travelled to some of the most visually stunning corners of the globe in the hopes of capturing one-of-a-kind sequences that would offer viewers an immersive—and realistic—experience.

“I never wanted the film to feel like superheroes,” Kurzel says. “I wanted you to look at it and think, Wow, there are human beings doing that and they are doing it like Olympians, as opposed to filming on a parking lot with green screen. You can feel that artifice. That is probably why we went toward a more old-school approach, to make the whole film feel more human and more intimate.”

“Assassin’s Creed” opens January 4, 2017 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Game-to-movie ‘Assassin’s Creed’ offers game-changing cinematic event

Prepare for an exhilarating ride at the movies when the game-to-movie “Assassin’s Creed” opens in Phil. cinemas on January 8, 2017 starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson.

A game-changing cinematic event, “Assassin’s Creed” is directed by visionary filmmaker Justin Kurzel from Ubisoft’s worldwide hit franchise of the same title. Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

Since development began on the first “Assassin’s Creed” game, inspired by the life of Hassan-i Sabbah, a missionary who lived in 11th Century Persia, and whose followers became known as “Hashshashin”, or Assassins – the franchise has always been at the top of Ubisoft’s priority list, and since its release in 2007, there have been more than 20 games within the “Assassin’s Creed” canon, as well as comics, novels, and books.

Now, on January 8, 2017, Philippine audiences will finally get the chance to see “Assassin’s Creed” (from 20th Century Fox) brought to life in a new film that features plenty of moments and nods that fans of the games will pick up on.

For director Justin Kurzel, transforming the world of the hit video game series “Assassin’s Creed” into a live action feature film meant putting as much effort into realizing the action of the games in real life as possible. “I could have shot it all in a parking lot and made it very CGI-heavy,” he admits, “but I thought what was really interesting was to see how we could make the audience feel as though it were possible; that these Assassins in real life could jump between buildings.”

Early on in the project he took a meeting with the stunt coordinator, Ben Cooke, to determine how much could be realized. It was Cooke who suggested bringing on Damien Walters, one of the world’s leading freerunners, to choreograph these sequences with the principal actors and the stunt team. When they started talking about the Leap of Faith – an iconic “Assassin’s Creed” stunt series staple, in which an Assassin flings himself off a ledge, turns in mid-air and lands on his back in water or on a bale of hay – Walters revealed that he’d been planning to attempt his own, just for fun. 20ft was the height mooted by the production to attempt the leap. Walters suggested going for 120ft.

“What’s so amazing about this stuff is that you can do it,” says Kurzel. “You’re looking at an Assassin jumping off a building and going, ‘Is that possible?’ Well, we did it. I think that’s very important, especially if the film’s going to have some sense of its own identity. We’ve paid our dues to figure out how you jump from building to building, and leap and climb. What is a Leap of Faith that feels real and tangible and visceral?”

Cook notes that it was worth the effort. “It’s such an iconic part of the game that I don’t think it should be ruined with visual effects. We actually went back to the old school of stunts and doing that kind of thing for real. If you get these stunts wrong, you’re going down, but for a stunt performer, if you’re not getting scared, it’s meaningless.”

Agrees Michael Fassbender, who plays the dual roles of Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nehra in the movie: “We did it old-school, on location, on camera. Damien doing that jump – it was so frightening. He was nervous, but I think it was very special that he did his biggest jump on our movie. I got nervous just watching him; I felt a little sick every time he was up there. I just wanted him down safe.”

WATCH: Latest trailer for ‘Assassin’s Creed’ unveiled

The latest brand new trailer of “Assassin’s Creed” starring Academy Award® nominee Michael Fassbender reveals a much more dangerous world as it puts the audience in the middle of an ancient war between two age old factions – the Assassins, who fight to protect free will among the populace, and the Templars, who aspire to impose a New World Order.

Throughout history, these two groups have been fighting for the fate of humanity. In the present, the Templars are close to realizing their dream of dominion by using ancient artifacts (created by an extremely evolved First Civilization) known collectively as Pieces of Eden. Among other things, these artifacts have the power to optimize the human mind.

Based on the highly-successful and popular Ubisoft video game series, “Assassin’s Creed” sees Fassbender plays dual roles as Callum Lynch, a Death Row convict spared execution by the Templars, as well as his 15th Century ancestor, Aguilar de Nehra, a Master Assassin who fought the Spanish Inquisition in his quest to keep a sacred artifact out of Templar hands. Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

“Assassin’s Creed” also stars Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “La Vie en Rose”), Jeremy Irons (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), Brendan Gleeson (“Harry Potter” movies) and is directed by Justin Kurzel (“Macbeth”).

“Assassin’s Creed” opens in Philippine cinemas nationwide on January 8, 2017 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.