Chad Stahelski on his Ghost Of Tsushima film, and The Last of Us

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John Wick filmmaker Chad Stahelski claims that HBO’s celebrated The Last Of Us has lifted the ‘curse’ of video game adaptations. 

Whilst early 90s films like Street Fighter: The Movie and Super Mario Bros definitely pack a certain charm, they’re also partly responsible for sparking the idea that turning popular video games into great movies was an impossibility. To a large degree, that rule has held hard and fast for a generation, before being well and truly shattered by HBO’s The Last Of Us series that has critics falling over themselves to praise the video game adaptation. Whilst we could certainly discuss the merits and shortcomings of the Tom Holland-led Uncharted film, there’s no doubting that it was a great commercial success and got the whole PlayStation Productions endeavour up and running on solid footing too.

What’s the secret sauce here? After all, video game adaptation were generally dire for decades and along come PlayStation Productions and suddenly, the future looks pretty bright for cinematic retellings of iconic video games. We have a sneaking suspicion that finally, a group of creatives that truly understand and value the material they are working with, has been assembled. Nothing fancy, but there you go.

Although it’s early days for PlayStation Productions, it has even bigger plans on the horizon with adaptations as varied as racing simulator Gran Turismo right through to Ghost Of Tsushima, a samurai action flick which is set to be helmed by John Wick director, Chad Stahelski. He said back in May that when work on John Wick: Chapter 4 was finished (the film releases in cinemas on Friday) then Ghost Of Tsushima would likely be his next project.

Now, the filmmaker has popped up again to discuss how Sony’s recent success with  The Last of Us series further proves the artistic viability of a studio that is focused on adapting video games, and that Ghost Of Tsushima can make the kind of impact that Stahelski is clearly aiming for. “I hope that The Last of Us shines a further light on upcoming video game adaptions,” he told Post-Credit Podcast.Rainbow Six, Ghost of Tsushima I’m working on. Both are fantastic projects that I really hope come to fruition”.

Of his particular project, he added that “it’s the anti-samurai samurai movie. It’s got great thematics. We have a lot of push on that and a lot of interest because Last Of Us pushing that, yes, the curse of video game-to-movie is kind of lifted”.

If you haven’t come across Ghost Of Tsushima before, it’s perfect material for a series of films. The story has the potential to be utterly compelling as it follows a lone samurai, Jin Sakai, the last surviving member of his clan after the island of Tsuhima is wiped out by invading Mongol hordes.

Sakai is forced to resort to ‘less conventional’ fighting methods and forsake his honour to fight back as an assassin, to stand any chance of reclaiming his homeland. The filmic nature of the game could translate well to cinema too, with the gorgeous locations and stunning fight sequences tailor-made for the big screen. The game itself actually features a Kurosawa mode, where you can play in a grainy black and white aesthetic in a style redolent of the Japanese director’s samurai epics. 

Stahelski’s next take in the John Wick franchise comes next, after which he says the series will be ‘taking a rest.’ We’ll let you know more about Ghost Of Tsushima as we hear it.

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