One day, the quest for a decent narrative film adaptation of a popular video game might end. Today is not that day, however, and the mission continues. Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain is now in talks to join the planned adaptation of Tom Clancy’s The Division – one of Ubisoft’s bestselling titles – which is being packaged for sale by Ubisoft Motion Pictures.
The project has been on the radar for some months, with the involvement of Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal as star and producer already confirmed. The Division will also be co-produced by Ubisoft’s Gerard Guillemot, and Chastain would presumably come aboard as co-lead cast member. The story would be a great fit for the actress, too, who has built an impressive career combining heavy duty drama (Zero Dark Thirty, A Most Violent Year), with more action-based fare (The Huntsman: Winter’s War).
Though the adaptation does not appear to have a writer attached yet, Tom Clancy’s The Division is an online, open-world third person shooter video game, in which the player fills the role of a Strategic Homeland Division agent. The Division is tasked with re-building its facilities and resources in Manhattan, after it has been ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. In addition, agents must investigate the origins of the outbreak and combat the resulting breakdown of society.
The director’s chair also appears to be open on this film – and this will be a crucial decision for Gyllenhaal as producer, since his own experience of video game adaptations (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time) has been less than stellar. The Division will require not only a great deal of experience and competence in the directing of action sequences, but will also require a deft hand with regard to nuanced, intensive drama, as well as the use of a distinctive and notable visual style. It would be an excellent project for filmmakers such as Olatunde Osunsanmi, Rachel Talalay, Millicent Shelton, Lexi Alexander or Lana and Lilly Wachowski.
As Ubisoft prepare to pitch The Division to studios, we should expect to hear more about casting choices, writers and directors soon – a process that is likely to be bolstered by the release of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed adaptation at the end of the year.