Game Changer, the 90-minute Grand Theft Auto docu-drama in the works at BBC, is set to chart the heated court battle between anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson (Bill Paxton) and Sam Houser – brother to Dan Houser – one of the masterminds behind Rockstar’s genre-defining blockbuster.
Primarily centering around the two leads, Polygon has unearthed the first stills from the set in Cape Town, which showcase Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe sporting a beard as the former brother. For the documentary, the 25-year-old actor will take a stand against Bill Paxton’s peeved lawyer, who believes the entire Grand Theft Auto franchise should be disbanded due to its excessive – and, arguably, gratuitous – violence.
But it is a real-life murder that will act as the crux of Game Changer. In 2005, Devin Moore was shot and killed by three police officers, and soon thereafter Thompson attributed part of the blame to Grand Theft Auto and its creators, Rockstar Games. Hence the dynamic between Paxton and Radcliffe’s characters.
Barring a largely forgettable title, Game Changer looks to be an intriguing dramatization of the subject matter, and with Daniel Radcliffe on board as Sam Houser, we’re already cautiously optimistic. Directed by Owen Harris, the docu-drama is due to release later this year.
“Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama tells the story of the controversy surrounding the computer game Grand Theft Auto – arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park. Its triumph was down to a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days, and at the heart of it all was GTA’s creative mastermind, Sam Houser. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration – GTA:V – earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.
But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding commercial success leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values they say it encourages; and above all from moral campaigners, who fight passionately to ban it. At the vanguard of this crusade is the formidable campaigning lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of Grand Theft Auto.