There’s something to be said about the herd mentality behind Hollywood’s shotcallers. We’ve arguably hit an apex with the reboot/revival trend, cashing in on nostalgia with older audiences and introducing time-tested properties to younger generations. Superhero content has dominated the landscape both commercially and culturally. The next big thing? Studios are looking to lure massive, existing fanbases attached with video games like the ridiculous Saints Row franchise into theatres for what hopefully won’t be a half-assed movie adaptation.
Bringing the game in question to screens – which can only be described as Grand Theft Auto meets aliens meets reality-bending meta humour – has been in discussion for over a decade, with everyone from rapper 50 Cent to THQ executive vice president Danny Bilson participating in the broader conversation. At the time of this article’s publishing, it’s being developed by F. Gary Gray, director of Friday, Straight Outta Compton, and The Fate of the Furious. The screenplay, on the other hand, is being penned by Greg Russo, who has most recently completed the hotly-anticipated Mortal Kombat reboot.
“I think from a storytelling perspective, it was two things… The tricky thing with something like Saints Row is going to be tone, right away,” Greg Russo tells Collider.
“If you know the franchise, you know that it basically had two tones: it has more of the gritty tone, which is the first couple [games], and then it goes kind of bonkers and just absolutely insane. And so, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t isolating either of those.”
“You want it to feel real, you want the characters to feel real, as much as possible. But you also wanna lean into what made it fun and lean into that craziness.”
“I’m a big fan of 70s cinema, so I looked at The Warriors, I looked at Escape From New York – just some of those classics. And I said, ‘Well… how do we pull from some of those and tell our own unique story?’ So I’m excited for it. We’ll see.”
As with generally the case when it comes to a project’s early development, public details have been kept to a minimum. Although it’s comforting to hear Russo is keeping the game’s over-the-top DNA in mind. And we can only hope iconic characters such as Johnny Gat make an appearance.
Currently, in addition to F. Gary Gray’s Saints Row movie, here’s what else gamers can look forward to (or dread depending on where you lean):
- HBO’s The Last of Us series, starring Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey
- Amazon’s Fallout series, showrun by Westworld creators Jonathon Nolan (brother of Christopher Nolan) & Lisa Joy
- Netflix’s Splinter Cell series
- Uncharted movie, starring Tom Holland & Mark Wahlberg
- Metal Gear Solid movie, starring Oscar Isaac
- Ghost of Tsushima movie, directed by John Wick’s Chad Stahelski
- and in the coming month – both Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 prequel, Without Remorse starring Michael B. Jordan, as well as the R-rated visual affair, Mortal Kombat