Earlier today, I had the opportunity to speak with God of War writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton about their highly anticipated game-to-feature adaptation. Coming from a background in horror films such as Saw IV, the Feast trilogy and Piranha 3DD, Patrick and Melton only just recently took their first steps into the action genre after polishing the script for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Since then, they’ve been hired to rewrite the long-gestating God of War movie, which was originally penned by David Self (Road to Perdition, Thirteen Days).
As Dunstan recalled, he and Melton were hired to rework Self’s screenplay, which he mentioned was actually pretty good. "The only problem with that is it was written before Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, 300 and Immortals, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the God of War stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies."
Their first step, according to Dunstan, was to humanize the film’s main character Kratos. "In the same way that Batman was grounded with Christopher Nolan’s rendition, we were attempting to do that with Kratos so that when we meet him — like they’re doing in this newest game, which is sort of a prequel to the original — we’re seeing him before he became the Ghost of Sparta, when he was just a Spartan warrior and he had family and kids."
Explained Melton, "In the game… there’s that attack from the barbarians and Kratos has to call upon Ares to help him. Really, that’s going to be our first act break. Before then, he’s going to be mortal, and he’s going to have his family. We’re going to learn about him and understand how he operates. So it’s potentially 30 minutes — give or take — of building up this character so that, when he does turn and becomes the Ghost of Sparta, we understand him as a human and we understand the journey that he’s going to take. We’re emotionally invested, so that it could go beyond just this one movie."
In regards to switching gears from low-budget horror to larger-than-life action, Dunstan and Melton couldn’t be happier. "There’s almost an element of relief," continued Melton. "When it comes to God of War, we are first-time visitors, and we have a wealth of imagination that has built up from our appreciation for the sword-and-sandals films of our history… We know it doesn’t have to be done for a million bucks in a garage. [Laughs] That helps, too. But also, with a bigger movie like God of War, you have to go quite a bit deeper into the character as opposed to a horror film, in which you generally need to get things going; people are concerned that the audience won’t have patience, so it’s go go go go go.
"With God of War, the studio’s saying, ‘We’re going to spend $150 million to make this movie. We really need to understand this character and get behind him and feel his pain and feel his emotions so that, when he is in these giant set pieces, we’re in there with him and we’re feeling it.’ That is a critique of some of these big action films is that they often get too big and just become noise; you’re not invested in the character."
Added Dunstan, "There was a recent movie, which will remain nameless, that depicted the main character without any fear. When you do that, how are we supposed to be afraid through him? How are we supposed to gauge anything as a legitimate threat? It’s become this dulling element. So with this, we take an intimidating presence such as Kratos, fighting and pursuing a bloodthirsty vengeance trail to the God of War. How do we make that genuinely scary? The man of action must prevail, but it’s got to hurt to getting there."
Speaking of hurt, the writers also have big plans for Ares, who will become a more proactive villain in their adaptation. "In the game, you know, he’s immortal, and he doesn’t really do much besides raid Athens," noted Melton. "So we’re trying to build him up a bit more, too, so that he can become a true villain."
As of right now, Dunstan and Melton are still working on the screenplay. While Brett Ratner was once attached to helm the project, God of War is currently without a director. In the meantime, consider this your first taste of what’s to come.
Source : feeds[dot]ign[dot]com