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Masi Oka's MMORPG Inspired Project Gets Picked Up by DreamWorks

by
June 7, 2009

Masi Oka

Heroes' star Masi Oka will make his transition to the big screen with The Defenders. But this isn't exactly what you're thinking. Masi conceived the idea on his own and DreamWorks just picked it up. The Defenders is a "family adventure project" about a group of teenagers from around the world who play a MMORPG, each unaware of who they really are behind the cover of their consoles and avatars. They are forced to come together for a real adventure, becoming inadvertent heroes in the process. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are producing (not writing) with D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) in negotiations to direct.

In addition to the movie, DreamWorks will develop a video game simultaneously with the feature. Masi is a gamer himself who came up with the idea while playing. "You can be whoever you want to be," Oka told THR. "The question came to me: What if you had to live up to the person you created in the virtual world?" This kind of sounds like one of those Star Trek episodes where the holodeck goes wild and brings the characters to life. Oka pitched the project to Kurtzman and Orci once he learned that they were looking to make "the kinds of movies that Amblin used to do, that combined an innocence with the adventure."

As mentioned earlier, Kurtzman and Orci (best known as screenwriters) won't be writing The Defenders, instead, Gary Whitta (upcoming Book of Eli) will be. Masi and Whitta bonded over their love for World of Warcraft. Masi has been working with Kurtzman and Orci to hone the concept for the past year. They brought it to D.J. Caruso, who liked it as well. "D.J. brings a naturalistic sensibility to kids," Kurtzman said. "He also roots the implausible and the reality in a way that allows you to buy the world." I'm not an MMO gamer anymore, but this seems like an interesting concept that I'm curious to find out more about.

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  • teyhtr
    meh... it sounds like it's been done to death. Reminds me of .hack and most recently the new Gerard Butler movie
  • johnny rico
    you probably haven't seen the new gerard butler movie yet, how can you say that?! mmorpgs have barely been around for that long, how can it be done to death?
  • proudfoot
    I'm excited to see if they can pull this off. I love Masi in Heroes... is he going to be IN the movie or did he just pitch the idea?
  • Dean
    Gamer by Gerard Butler is more action, violence than a character development movie. I'm interested to see where they take this. Great concept but it seems fragile.
  • a
    Mmo's are mainly played by an older crowd that can afford the monthly subscription fee. So I think this kind of movie would be better geared for adults. At least a pg-13 rating. Oh well. Bring on the warcraft movie!
  • So how will this movie NOT be like a big screen version of THE GUILD?

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