RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven is having a go at the video game movie business, working on an "Indiana Jones-ish" but also "Hitchcockian" video game set in the year 1914. Could it be anything other than Jordan Mechner's The Last Express?
The MTV Movies blog first broke the news that the man behind RoboCop, Starship Troopers and Basic Instinct was working on a video game adaptation earlier today, leading multiple websites to speculate about which property Verhoeven is taking on, based on the description given.
"I am working on a movie now that is... situated in 1914. Basically, Indiana Jones-ish you could say, but also Hitchcockian," he explained in a recent interview with MTV's Josh Horowitz. "We are scripting it. It's an idea that exists already... from another medium, and so we are making it now into a film narrative." Which medium, Josh asked. "A game, a video game."
AS MTV Multiplayer points out, there aren't a lot of games based in the pre-World War I 1900s, but one immediately springs to mind - or at least it sprung to the mind of SlashFilm's Peter Sciretta.
That game is The Last Express, a 1997 action-adventure game for the PC, created by Jordan Mechner of Prince of Persia fame. The game was notable for its use of rotoscoping. Actors were filmed in costume, and then frames of animation were made into black and white line images, which were then coloured by hand.
The game is also notable for being played out in real-time, skipping ahead only when the game's protagonist is asleep or knocked unconscious.
The title centres around American doctor Robert Cath, who boards the Orient Express to escape troubles with the law, only to find himself embroiled in a plot rife with intrigue, treachery, romance and murder. With a colourful cast of characters and an intriguing plot, it makes for perfect movie material.
Aside from the setting and tone similarities, two other factors lead us to think that this project is indeed The Last Express.
First, there's the big budget Prince of Persia movie coming out next month, which means Jordan Mechner is a big deal in Hollywood right now.
Second is a further quote from Verhoeven's interview with MTV: "The writer of the video game has asked me to keep [the identity of the game]secret until he has a script."
That means it's an Indiana Jones-ish, Hitchcockian video game movie set in 1914, with a writer prolific enough to have his requests honoured by Hollywood big wigs. Sure sounds like Mechner to me.
We'll leave this one labelled rumour for now, but all signs point to another Jordan Mechner classic heading to the big screen.
To learn more about The Last Express, check out Jordan Mechner's page on the game.