MICHAEL FASSBENDER TAKES IT UP A LEVEL IN ASSASSIN’S CREED
ESIDENT EVIL. DOOM. SUPER BLOODY Mario Bros. The path from video game to film is paved with disappointments. But it would be a huge surprise if Assassin’s Creed wound up in their company.
Consider the talent attached. Fresh from their bracing take on the Bard in last year’s Macbeth, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel have reteamed. Then there’s the hit game franchise; a sprawling, blood-soaked historical epic.
The film, however, starts in the present day, where loner Callum Lynch becomes caught up in a centuries-long conflict between the Knights Templar and the Assassin Order. He is forced by corporate villains Abstergo to enter the Animus, which transports him into the body of his 15th-century Spanish ancestor, Aguilar: “He’s a single-minded warrior — similar to a samurai,” says Fassbender of the second of his dual roles. “He’s totally focused on the preservation of the Creed and the Brotherhood.”
Fassbender produces, but finding a director was problematic until he worked with Kurzel. “It was just clear — his insight into what we were doing on [Macbeth], how to intellectualise the characters as well as physicalise them. This has so many components... We had to strip it down to be as simple as possible.”
It may sound complex, but really Assassin’s Creed is the medieval Matrix — a seemingly insignificant man discovers he has a greater destiny. And kills people. Lots of people.
From what Empire has seen on set, Kurzel is going allout to capture the knife-play (and anything-that-can-stabyou-play) from the games, while making sure the action feels real. “The idea is you wanna touch and feel the spaces,” says Fassbender. “It adds to the essence of the film.” The cutscenes should be something else. NEV PIERCE
ASSASSIN’S CREED IS OUT ON DECEMBER 26.