Prince of Persia Creator Talks Up Expectations for 2010
Not excited for the big screen version of Prince of Persia yet? You should be! Disney is hoping this will be the next big franchise that follows in the footsteps of Pirates of the Caribbean. And with Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Mike Newell directing, it definitely could be. MTV caught up with the creator of the video game and screenwriter on the film, Jordan Mechner, and talked with him at length about what we can expect. The movie is currently shooting in Morocco and Mechner insists it'll be epic. "The scope of this is going to be massive. It's really spectacular." And that's not all. They really expect that this will "do for Arabian Nights movies what Pirates did for pirate movies." I certainly hope hope that's true.
As skeptical as most people seem to be at the moment, it's this kind of early behind-the-scenes buzz that makes me excited. I'm a big fan of the game and I'm always looking out for any mention of the movie. This time we've got some of the best quotes yet. Mechner (seen to the right) explains that the Prince of Persia movie was pitched to Disney and Bruckheimer "as an old-fashioned swashbuckling action-adventure in a tradition going all the way back to the Doug Fairbanks movies. The modern equivalent being Pirates of the Caribbean, an example of an old movie made new again, doing a fresh take on it for a modern audience." As for what we can expect? "Tonally, I'd say it's basically Pirates of the Caribbean with maybe a half-step towards Gladiator."
Of course, Mechner says "there'll certainly be a lot of stunts, a lot of special effects. I mean it's Jerry Bruckheimer!" If there is one producer out there who could show the world what video game movies should be like, it's The Bruck. And like the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Mechner explains that the story is essentially grounded in the real world with some fantasy elements. "If you take the first Sands of Time game, that was set in basically the real world, but with this mystical element that intrudes into it. It feels like it's grounded in a very real world with historical roots, but then its got this fantasy element as well. It's not completely over the top." That balance is key for turning this into a successful franchise.
This all sounds great so far, right? If you're concerned about the story being too contrived, Mechner, who had a hand in putting together the story, claims otherwise. "Well the movie's packed with action, so there'll be swords and horses and all the things that wouldn't be Prince of Persia without. But because it's a movie, it's about the characters and character relationships. There's no fighting for fighting's sake." However, because the action in the game is such an important part of it, Mechner adds that "fighting's a part of the story but it's not a movie about swordfighting." Based on what Mechner's saying, this should easily be one of the best big budget projects coming up in the next few years.
What I'm trying to say is that there's no reason to be concerned with this production. We all know video game movies have a bad rap, but hopefully that will change with Prince of Persia. And the more I hear, the more confident I become. Bruckheimer usually does a great job and if this is indeed supposed to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, I don't expect him to let this one become a failure. Everything about it sounds like it has the potential to be incredibly entertaining and I think that's what is going to count the most with this movie. Mechner is only the most recent one involved in this to speak highly of the project and I suspect that he's dead on with his expectations. Only time will tell, I suppose.