By: John Gaudiosi
LOS ANGELES, CA—A pair of new console games isn't the only thing cooking for the classic 3D shooter franchise, Duke Nukem. Hollywood producer Scott Faye, who's readying Max Payne for its October 17th release, is working with 3D Realms' Scott Miller on a Duke Nukem movie.
"I'm working diligently at making a Duke Nukem movie scenario that will live up to the character and its import in the videogame world," said Faye. "As is the case with all of my game adaptations, I'd rather not make the movie than make a poor adaptation."
Faye stuck with that strategy with Max Payne - a game he first saw at E3 in Atlanta and made a verbal commitment to Miller to one day bring it to the big screen. Over 10 years and a couple movie studios later, the movie is hitting theatres with Mark Wahlberg in the starring role.
"With the two new games coming out based on Duke Nukem, I'm working at establishing a Duke film scenario that will compel a studio to finance a feature version," said Faye. "Certainly, there's a large audience that knows and loves this character."
Faye said he's still actively developing the story and he will not shop the film in Hollywood until all the people involved in the project feel solid about where we are creatively.
"More than ever before, I feel that the feature adaptation of Duke Nukem will come to together nicely," said Faye, who runs Depth Entertainment.
Faye has a production arrangement with Miller's Radar Group, which will be part of every aspect of the Duke Nukem process, according to Faye.
"We're expanding Duke's 'storyverse' in a very significant major way without abandoning or negating any element that's being used to introduce Duke to the next gen platforms," added Faye.
Faye is also still developing American McGee's Alice for the big screen. After originally targeting Sarah Michelle Gellar to star in the project for Universal Pictures, Faye said the story is being reworked and Gellar is no longer involved. Director Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th) is also no longer attached. A new script is in development by original Alice scribes Jon and Erich Hoeberand and a new studio is expected to be announced in the future.
"I love the grown up Alice in a horror story version of Wonderland, and knew instinctively that the project would have a commercial appeal easily discerned by the film studios because the character and mythology are so deeply ingrained into the collective psyche," said Faye.
As for Max Payne, Faye said 20th Century Fox is committed to the film, which will receive a large opening and a strong marketing push. Wahlberg and director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) have already expressed interest in a potential sequel.
"What more do you need to hear than Mark say he'd be interested in doing a sequel," said Faye. "I would imagine if the film is successful that there'd be a sincere desire to do a sequel. There have been no conversations about what the scenario would be, or whether we'd look at the Max Payne 2 game. Hopefully, this film will find an audience."
Faye said he's learned a lot about adapting games over the decade of developing Max Payne and working closely with Miller's 3D Realms.
"Why go out of your way to acquire an IP is you're not going to use as much of it as you can in the adaptation process? Asked Faye. "Of course, a game is a game and a film is a film, and decisions need to be made, as is the case in any adaptation. But it's important to be true to the source material."
Faye is working with Miller's Radar Group on a number of new cross-media franchises that are being designed from the ground up as games and films.
"I've always viewed content in a way that suggested that creating a universe, or a storyverse, would be exceptionally helpful when it comes to cross-media development," said Faye. "There are some archetypal properties that have blazed the trail — like Star Wars, which has had novels, comic books, games and films all taking place in the same universe with different characters and stories. That's our agenda — to create IPs that can thrive as games and in other media, but not necessarily have to mimic each other in terms of what story you're telling. Frankly, if I'm going to play a videogame based on a feature film, the last thing I want to do is play through the film narrative. If it's an interesting universe, it's an interesting universe. Be a little bit more creative about it."
Before founding Depth Entertainment, Faye ran Dark Horse Entertainment. He learned a lot about building franchises from that experience, as well as when to pitch an IP for a cross-media jump.
"One of the elements of the blueprints we're filling in is exactly at what point in time is it best for one of our properties to matriculate to (Hollywood) studios," said Faye. "We want to take our properties far enough along that they're established creatively. With each project, we're working with established writers and embracing a traditional linear development process simultaneous to the interactive process."