Aussie di­rec­tor’s ac­tion film de­but in As­sas­sin’s Creed.

Aussie di­rec­tor puts twist on video game for big screen

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - With Seanna Cronin

JUSTIN Kurzel is ready for a pas­sion­ate re­ac­tion from fans to his new film As­sas­sin’s Creed. The Aus­tralian di­rec­tor is at the helm of the lat­est big-screen adap­ta­tion of a video game fran­chise – a grow­ing trend in re­cent years.

“I think the feed­back will be very strong ei­ther way,” he tells Week­end.

“I feel re­ally ex­cited that the fans are go­ing to see some­thing that’s not an ap­pro­pri­a­tion of the game.

“We wanted to make an ex­pe­ri­ence for the fans that was dif­fer­ent to how they ex­pe­ri­ence the game; I hope we have.”

Michael Fass­ben­der stars as Cal­lum Lynch, a crim­i­nal who dis­cov­ers he is the di­rect de­scen­dant of a mas­ter as­sas­sin called Aguilar.

The mys­te­ri­ous Knights Tem­plar pulls him from death row, only to im­prison him in their own fa­cil­ity where they use a spe­cial ma­chine to read his DNA’s “mem­ory” in the hopes of find­ing where Aguilar hid a pre­cious arte­fact.

It was Fass­ben­der, a co-pro­ducer on the film, who sug­gested Kurzel, with whom he had just worked on the film Macbeth, for the di­rec­tor’s chair.

“I was in post-pro­duc­tion for Macbeth when Michael ap­proached me and started talk­ing about the idea of ge­netic mem­ory and the cen­tral char­ac­ter learn­ing about who he is through the mem­o­ries of his an­ces­tors,” Kurzel says.

“I thought the con­cept was re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing, and then he was like ‘It’s As­sas­sin’s Creed; it’s this video game’.”

Kurzel, who is best known for his award-win­ning 2011 crime drama Snow­town, ad­mits he had lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence with ac­tion se­quences be­fore work­ing on As­sas­sin’s Creed.

“It was a very par­tic­u­lar style of ac­tion. We were us­ing real stunt­men and get­ting Michael to do a lot of the ac­tion se­quences him­self. We tried to use as lit­tle CGI as pos­si­ble,” he says.

“I was def­i­nitely a vir­gin to that style of film­mak­ing, but I learned a lot very, very quickly. That in­ex­pe­ri­ence also makes you be a bit more dar­ing be­cause you don’t quite un­der­stand what’s not pos­si­ble.”

The film fea­tures some dar­ing stunts, in­clud­ing Damien Wal­ters’ 38 me­tre free fall to suc­cess­fully recre­ate the video game’s iconic Leap of Faith.

“When we were shoot­ing in Malta, you would only do one or two takes, maybe one take if you were do­ing a re­ally dan­ger­ous stunt, be­cause you couldn’t af­ford to do an­other take,” Kurzel says. “You’d be cross­ing your fingers and pray­ing to the gods noth­ing would go wrong. We were all re­ally de­ter­mined, for the film to feel dan­ger­ous.

“It was very nerve rack­ing at times, es­pe­cially when it’s your lead ac­tor 15 me­tres in the air lean­ing over an edge try­ing to

(do) park­our. But it’s also very ex­cit­ing. We weren’t in a car park on a green screen; we were do­ing it.”

Kurzel used two very dif­fer­ent colour pal­ettes to help dis­tin­guish be­tween the flash­back, or re­gres­sion, scenes and the present day and also to high­light the on­go­ing ide­o­log­i­cal strug­gle be­tween the as­sas­sins and the Tem­plar.

“The as­sas­sins be­lieve that hu­man­ity has the abil­ity to choose for it­self and not be pre­de­ter­mined by other re­li­gions and ide­olo­gies,” he says.

“Then the Tem­plars be­lieve that all hu­man­ity is cor­rupt and weak, and to evolve they need to have an elite so­ci­ety guid­ing them. Both of those sides con­tra­dict each other in an in­ter­est­ing way. When they be­come ex­treme they be­come dan­ger­ous; one be­comes a dic­ta­tor and the other a rogue. I think that’s some­thing you could carry into fu­ture films.”

As­sas­sin’s Creed opens na­tion­ally to­mor­row.

PHO­TOS: KERRY BROWN

Michael Fass­ben­der as the as­sas­sin Aguilar in a scene from the movie As­sas­sin’s Creed.

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