Capcom announced at this year’s Tokyo Game Show that the popular Monster Hunter series is getting a Hollywood movie. Deadline shares the latest in an interview with W.S Anderson and Jeremy Bolt.
Now that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter nears its release, writer-director W.S Anderson and his producing partner Jeremy Bolt will jump to their next video game to movie franchise with the Monster Hunter movie. It’ll feature still and VFX visual renderings of creatures from the partnership with Dennis Berardi, the co-founder and president of Toronto-based VFX house Mr.X that helped the Anderson and Bolt bring in the Resident Evil series for a reasonable budget of around the $50 million range for each final 3D pictures. It’s mentioned that the Monster Hunter movie will cost a similar amount as well.
Here’s the logline:
For every Monster, there is a Hero. An ordinary man in a dead end job discovers that he is actually the descendant of an ancient hero. He must travel to a mystical world to train to become a Monster Hunter, before the mythical creatures from that world destroy ours.
You gave me a Monster Hunter logline. Explain the mythology and how you turn that into a narrative feature.
Anderson: What I love about Monster Hunter is the incredibly beautiful, immersive world they’ve created. It’s on the level of like a Star Wars movie, in terms of world creation. There are no real central characters so it’s a bit like when we first approached Resident Evil and imposed our own characters and story on that world. I think this is a perfect IP for us to do exactly that same thing again. The Monster Hunter world includes these huge deserts that make the Gobi Desert look like a sandbox, and they have ships that sail through the sand. These full-on galleons, but rather than sailing on the ocean waves, they sail through waves of sand.
You’re fighting these giant creatures, some as big as a city block. They live underneath the Earth and when they burst out, it’s like the best of Dune. You also have these flying dragons, giant spiders, the most wonderful creatures. That’s what really attracted me. I felt there was a fresh, exciting world that we could expose and build a whole world around, like a Marvel or Star Wars universe. Everything is about world creation, nowadays, and how can you build a world where you can have multiple stories going on? I thought this was our opportunity to have a cinematic universe.
How will you set this up as your next film?
Bolt: We went ahead and got the rights ourselves. Capcom, because of Resident Evil and their respect, agreed to give us the rights. They loved Paul’s pitch and then we partnered with Dennis Berardi. The three of us formed a new company, and we are taking Paul’s script and the whole package out.
Anderson: We started the process and talking to Capcom about five years ago. Like Jeremy said, it’s the crown jewel so there was a lot of conversation. What will you do with it? What will the story be? They really wanted to be sure that we were going to do it justice because it’s their top money earner now. It’s huge, a cultural phenomenon in Japan and it’s giant in China, where it’s an online game that has 15 million paying users. If you do the math, the movie could potentially be the biggest of the year in China and Japan, where people line up around the block when new games are released. It has sold 38 million copies so far, which is bigger than Resident Evil was when we started the adaptation of that franchise.
Bolt: It’s a different…where Resident Evil is sci-fi/horror/action, this is a PG-13 action/adventure. We’re excited about going to a slightly different genre. As Paul said the game is a bit of Star Wars, a bit of Lord Of The Rings, it’s a little more fantasy. We’ve found a way of connecting the Dune-like sand covered world of Monster Hunter with our world. So we’re bringing this massive Japanese game into the world of America.
Anderson: The central characters are very relatable American characters. You take a person from the ordinary world who thinks they’re in a dead end job, they have no future, they feel like their life’s a failure, it’s going nowhere, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. It’s about a normal American who gets dragged into this parallel world, this Monster Hunter world. Then eventually the parallel world ends up coming to our world. So you have the creatures from the Monster Hunter world invading our world.
The mythology is that basically monsters are real and all the monsters and creatures from our mythology, whether dragons or the Minotaur, or Chinese dragons, it’s all real. They were real. They really existed in our world. For every monster there was a hero that fought the monster. And then those monsters just disappeared, overnight. They ceased to exist, as did our need for heroes. They became a thing of myth and legend, but eventually the monsters will come back. Unless we have a hero to help fight them, our world with be devastated by these returning creatures, after we’ve chosen to put our faith in technology rather than heroes. All of our technology won’t mean anything once the dragons start raining fire.
How far have you fleshed this out?
Bolt: We’ve got about two movies. We will likely shoot in China or South Africa for a budget comparable to the final Resident Evil, about $50 million net.
Anderson: It’s definitely intended to be a franchise because the movie starts in our world and then it goes to the Monster Hunter world and then the final act comes back to our world and it’s basically this epic battle in and around LAX. Then at the end we’re suddenly confronted with the fact that the mythological creatures of our world have come back to wreak vengeance. So we definitely have the second film where that would be planned out.
[Image from a Monster Hunter Stories commercial featuring singer-songwriter, actor, and voice actor Daigo.]