Despite being regarded as a sort of cursed subgenre in Hollywood, video game movies have recently found their groove, with a number of blockbuster live-action takes on iconic games. One of the many adaptations that are currently planned is a Saints Row movie, which has been in the works in some capacity since 2009. Greg Russo, who is penning the most recent version off the film's script, recently spoke with Collider about the project while promoting his work on the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie. As Russo put it, the experience of trying to translate the game's open-world concept into live-action is "tricky", but the fact that director F. Gary Gray is on board definitely helps.
"It's a tricky one, right? I love the franchise, I've played all the games, huge fan of it. And we have a director, F. Gary Gray, who's attached to it, who's an amazing, visionary director. He's done some incredible [films], some of my favorite films, including Set It Off, which I still think is one of the best. It's fantastic. So he's got a great vision for it, he knows what he wants to do."
Russo went on to share his influences for the tone of the project, revealing that he would want to both honor the tone of the original game while homaging the madcap cinema of '70s classics like The Warriors and Escape From New York.
"I think from a storytelling perspective, it was two things," Russo continued. "The tricky thing with something like Saints Row is gonna be tone, right away. 'Cause 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. So it's about just trying to find the tonal balance where you have real characters, real stakes — again, that was part of it with Mortal Kombat, too. 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. So part of it was trying to figure out that tone, which I think it's finally gotten into a place where it makes sense. And then it was a matter of, 'What kind of movie is this? Because how do you take an open-world [game] and tell a story?' So I looked at different films that I really love. 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."
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