Jordan Vogt-Roberts on Metal Gear movie: It is an incredibly tricky thing to adapt because of how specific the tone is

Metal Gear’s specific tone will be difficult to adapt for the big screen, Metal Gear Solid movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts said. “The goal is to get the script right and do justice to a movie that is unlike anything else that exists in movies or video games or anything.”

The director, who just finished his movie Kong: Skull Island, spoke with website We Got This Covered and talked a bit about the challenges of translating the series to cinema, and what the series means to him. Although we haven’t had many updates on the Metal Gear Solid movie since its announcement in 2012, Vogt-Roberts intends to make it into something special.

Metal Gear is something I’ve been attached to for a long time. It’s a movie I fought tooth and nail to try and attach myself to because it is potentially the most precious property on this Earth to me. And it is one of the most tricky and idiosyncratic properties on the planet, where the creator’s voice, Hideo Kojima, is a genius.

It would also be one of the easiest properties for Hollywood to mess up. Luckily, there are very smart producers on it. It’s the type of thing where it would be very easy for Hollywood to be like, “Oh, it’s like Mission: Impossible!” No, it’s not Mission: Impossible. “It’s like G.I. Joe!” No, it’s not G.I. Joe. Metal Gear Solid IS Metal Gear Solid and can only be Metal Gear Solid.

For fans there may be some reassurance in these words, as one of the main issues with video game based movies is that the essence gets ‘lost in translation’. Vogt-Roberts however seems to be passionate about the video game medium and with Kojima’s work in particular.

It is an incredibly tricky thing to adapt because of how specific the tone is. Kojima’s tone is so brilliant in what it does. The tone of this movie at times could take itself very seriously, be very intense, and then next moment, it can be very goofy and very sort of out there. There is no other property on the planet that I would want to protect and shepherd more than the Metal Gear Solid property.

We are working on a script and have great producers. The goal is to get the script right and do justice to a movie that is unlike anything else that exists in movies or video games or anything. It’s one of the most influential properties in my life. And I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the creator over the last couple of years. Just to be able to spend time with him is great.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts visits Kojima in his new studio

Obviously the movie is still a ways off, but it’s good to see someone who actually cares about the series at the helm of this project, although the result still remains to be seen.

Source: We Got This Covered

  • Mr.Pony

    It’s good to see that he has the ability to see how easy it would be to fuck up the movie and very easy to turn it in a Mission Impossible/G.I. Joe kind of thing. As I see it the odds are not in favor because of how specific the Metal Gear spirit is, but lets hope for the best even if cautiously.

  • MULTIPLE JELLYBEAN

    It’s good to see someone who understands just how intricate and unique the series is. The fact that he specifically pointed out the whole “people thinking it looks like [insert generic series]” thing lifted a huge weight off me. That’s always been my main gripes with outsides to the franchise (and even those who do play it), is that a lot of the more subtle styles of Kojima’s are completely lost to them.

    I’ve pretty much accepted that the film will NEVER have the exact same charm purely because a lot of its charm comes from its interactivity (i.e. Psycho Mantis reading your memory card, the challenge of fighting the End). But I think it could be good in it’s own way, if they try to channel Kojima’s basic concept of trying to provide a unique experience for the medium.

    • Alex

      Exactly, aspire to be their own piece of greatness inspired by the games and Kojima. That is really the only way to do it with the kind of limitations they will have.

  • Full Options

    All Metal Gear chapters are extremely dense… I hope he’ll manage to properly synthesize the essential. Fortunately, he likely can ask for Boss advises when needed.
    Seeing how attached he is to the series, the result should rock..
    He look really passionate so I guess Snake is in rather good hands.

    I also hope they’ll setup the production so they can easily issue most chapters afterwards.. A bit like Lord of the rings.

    Metal Gear Solid IS Metal Gear Solid and can only be Metal Gear Solid.

    I sense he aims at Solid first.. Do you mates think he should start directly with Solid, or MG ? MG storyline is quite awesome too… Would be also cool if he tried to tackle this chronologically with MGS3 straight… ;D

    • It will probably be based on MGS1, that’s the most well known one.

      • LeGuyWhoDownedQuiet

        Nah doubt that. They did the same with SH and they got backlash

      • Full Options

        Chances are high indeed.. Looking forward the first sneak peeks…
        We only need a single snapshot to quickly figure out the question… xD

    • Lex Radu

      I don;t think he will addapt any specific story, to make a new one, and keep the esence. what MG is about!

  • Shadowarr

    I actually hope it will be animated. I can see how full performance actors could mess this up. Voice actors already understand the characters very well. Also live action Metal Gear characters would be just silly…

    • MULTIPLE JELLYBEAN

      Silly?! Especially with the realism in the later games, live-action makes a lot of sense… Lots of good looking, great acting folks out there that’d work perfectly. Finding the right ones are just up to the casting director.

      • Shadowarr

        Sure “great acting folks” will be interested in playing as MGS characters. Especially those that never heard of MGS. (So ummm… you gonna play that character that does weird Ocelot like sounds and is Russian cowboy wannabe. Sounds good?) It will probably end up like WOW movie. Decent, but overall as a movie, pretty bad.

        • MULTIPLE JELLYBEAN

          That didn’t stop Michael Fassbender from being in Assassin’s Creed. Or Angeline Jolie in Tomb Raider. Or as long as things go as planned, Donnie Yen in Sleeping Dogs and Jason Momoa in Just Cause.

    • It does not make any sense for MGS to be animated. It is very realistic in tone, so animation, even full CGI like with RE movies won’t work that great.

      • Shadowarr

        “Characters in MGS games are not silly at all.” Suuuuuuuuuure

        https://youtu.be/kbkeObRyORs?t=26

        • This moment was a small reference to the MGS2 first of all and this is important.

          • Shadowarr

            Alright.

            Also bosses like:

            Fatman – Fat dude that chases you on roller-blades and throws bombs at you.

            The Pain – Gut that attacks you with bees.

            Metal Gear – Gigantic tank that WALKS on (usually) 2 legs. (Even Otacon laughs at that.)

            I can go on if you like.
            Kojima is known for his how silly some of his characters are and that’s part of Metal Gear series. They even talk about that in article above.

          • But they aren’t much more silly than your average comic book character. Tom Hardy didn’t mind playing this:

            http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/12/124835/4320486-5511277391-13794.jpg

          • Shadowarr

            Bane is not really silly. He has reason to wear his mask and have a bit weird voice. None of MGS characters are like this. They are all weird just to be weird. Because it’s a video game. Current generation of actors doesn’t understand that because most of them doesn’t play video games anymore. That’s why most of video game based movies don’t work out. Actors just can’t understand the base material.

            Another difference from comic books is that in modern video game you already have character that is pictured realisticly. It has very distinct looks. character and VOICE. In comic books it’s up to artist how he draws each character and everybody accept that because there is no strict canon to it’s looks. And comic books characters don’t speak.
            That’s why it will be hard to find actors that look, sound and can act like MGS characters.
            Making live action MGS movie is just a bad idea if you think about that.

          • “They are all weird just to be weird.”

            Not really true. Take Psycho Mantis for example (one of the more silly characters), he wears a mask to keep out the thoughts of other people that force their way into his mind.

          • Shadowarr

            Yeah that’s why I didn’t bring him as an example. He’s one of few exceptions. Saying “all” I meant all weird characters. Not just all characters.

  • NegaScott128

    It’s great that Roberts respects the source material, but I’m still not sold on him directing yet. I really liked his last movie, Kings of Summer, but just because he made a good coming-of-age comedy does not mean he’d be good at making a big action movie. I’m really interested to see how Skull Island is, because it would be his big test to see if he can make a movie like MGS.

    • I’m looking forward to Kong. I’m just wondering why they decided to make him as big as they did. He looks like a building, not like he has to climb one.

      • NegaScott128

        The posters make him look a lot bigger than he is in the movie. It’s like Godzilla 1998’s marketing all over again.

      • Alex

        Well, he is supposed to fight Godzilla eventually. Everything is a crossover now.

      • Abudy Saad AlBaldawi

        I think they used Toho Kong as influence since it’s set in the same universe as Godzilla

  • Full Options

    I bet this question has been asked millions of times, but who would best incarnate Solid Snake according to you all ?
    Not simple, huh ?…

  • After watching Ghost In The Shell adaptation trailers, I don’t believe in the directors and hollywood in general. Keep in mind though that Konami will be behind all of this and some things will be changed there and there.
    MGS is too unique to work as a movie. The storytelling there is so superb that I’m not sure that it can work in a movie for 2 hours.

    If they will remake original MGS… What’s the point? Nothing new here. If they will create new MGS story, fans will complain.

    P.S. Ghost In The Shell trailers, casting and overall the look is so awful that I don’t believe in this cash-in at all. Even if the Kong movie will be great.

    • Full Options

      You are right to be careful, but bah, an attempt is better than nothing..
      We always asked for this movie and for ages now.. 😀

      • We don’t need that attempt to be honest (I can’t answer for everyone but………). What we need right now is Death Stranding and Konami’s future Metal Gear project. IMO that is much more important.

        After looking at the Ghost In The Shell trailer with CGI, completely out of the place Neon-Sci-fi City which does not represent cyberpunk setting. I don’t want MGS movie at all.
        Besides, what will be the budget for this movie? That is also important question. Anyway, not a huge fan of this.

        Metal Gear Solid is a masterpiece on it’s own. Not everything should be a movie and not every movie should be a game.

        • Full Options

          I understand. First Hitman, Tomb Raider, Max Payne or Doom were certainly not masterpieces neither, but I believe if it had the quite ~fair quality of those, I would buy the BD.

    • Alex

      It will have to be adapted and changed, but with the right people and Kojima’s involvement, it can work. I don’t know if it can work on the “best movie ever” level like the games are for games, but certainly it can be a truly great movie.

      Fans wont complain about changes if its inspired by great art while aspiring to be its own piece of great art. A perfect current example of this is the Logan movie and Old Man Logan comics.

      • LeGuyWhoDownedQuiet

        Logan is completely different from Old Man Logan and has a completely different storyline but the feel is similar
        The old weary Logan
        The empty apocalyptic Mexican border

        • Alex

          Exactly. It doesn’t have to concern itself with being similar if the quality bar is high. And it would’ve been impossible for them to do the comics anyway with the character rights and lower rated R budget. I think what Logan did was clever and brilliant and its reception has been sweeping across the board.

    • Eugene Voldo

      The thing is MGS kinda exist in a movie form. It’s called “Escape from L.A.”. The overall plot is the same. So it’s hard to write and shoot a new film based on old game which based on older film. Personally I expect nothing but awfulness. But still I’ll watch it. “Escape from L.A.” was not and still not a masterpiece, but in some way it was enjoyable movie.

  • Gatsu

    Lets hope it will be awesome :).

  • Full Options
    • Mr.Pony

      What might be behind curtain number one?

      • Full Options

        Man… His beard goes way below the god d.mn adidas logo !? xD

    • RJRO

      How many years does it take to have that beard?

      • Mr.Pony

        Gandalf years.

      • Full Options

        xD maybe something like 5-7 year at least, and depending how fast Jordan’s grow..

  • Plissken

    I’d rather have a CGI movie of the first Metal Gear game, but I’m open to see what ideas they have for live action.

  • Alex

    This is honestly the best kind of news we could’ve hoped for, but I’m really confused, how is Konami allowing the filmmakers and producers continually involve themselves with Kojima for them to ensure quality? Officially or unofficially, Kojima is very much involved, more so than Stan Lee would be for a typical comic book movie. I thought Konami didn’t want Metal Gear to have anything to do with Kojima in any way, shape or form. This might backfire on us and they all get fired for being too friendly with Kojima.

    I lost hope for the movie with all the Konami drama, but this certainly makes me feel good about it again.

    • Kojima likely isn’t involved officially, and Konami can’t stop Jordan from visiting Kojima informally. His visit doesn’t seem to have much to do with the movie anyway.

      • Full Options

        I even doubt Konami can technically prevent Jordan from working with Kojima. But even if there is at least some officious co-operation between two friends, no need as well for them to shout it everywhere and that officially. There are a lot of political aspects. Even if Kojima could be listed as a consultant or something, would Boss really want it that official in first place ? Not simple, for many possible reasons. The first one I can imagine is that he would not really appreciate reviving any kind of mess around him and Metal Gear in terms of business.

      • Full Options

        BTW, not sure if you spotted this but Ari Arad, President of Arad Productions will host a round-table at DICE 2017 (21-23 Feb)..
        Maybe we should keep an eye on it just to check possible leaks.. ;D

        Ari Arad, producer of the upcoming Ghost in the Shell, Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid movies, will be hosting a table to discuss the journey to adapting popular and well-loved franchises to different entertainment formats.

        http://www.dicesummit.org/events/2017_roundtables.asp

        http://www.dicesummit.org/images/speakers/Ari-Arad-RT.jpg

        • Interesting, hopefully we’ll learn more about the movie there. But wasn’t it Avi Arad? Now it’s Ari, and he looks different, too? 😛

          • Full Options

            Strange, looks like Dice is spelling it like that.. Maybe all thinking it was Avi got it wrong all this time.. 😀
            I hope between general stuff, he’ll drop few hints here and there.. No idea how the round-tables will be covered..
            I hope we’ll have some meat.. 😛

          • But this is definitely Avi:

            http://metalgearinformer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Metal-Gear-Movie-Avi-Arad.jpg

            Maybe the project passed from Avi to Ari (his son?) recently? Or they are both involved?

          • Full Options

            Got it, looks like he is his son (can’t confirm enough, but this comment look plausible), likely also called John Starkweather :

            John Starkweather is actually ARI Arad, the Harvard educated, coat tails riding SON of Mister Avi Ardad.

            http://deadline.com/2014/05/avi-arad-slams-businessweek-marvel-story-email-724106/

          • This is more complicated than the average Metal Gear plot.

          • Full Options

            Haha, yeah, he perhaps used this name to avoid “Son-of” problems, or something… xD

          • Alex

            I think they’re both producers. Avi at least definitely is.

      • Alex

        You know Jordan and Avi Arad go to him not just for good times but for input and approvals as well. The last thing either of them would want to do is go ahead with something that Kojima doesn’t approve. Just out of personal respect for him and the games.

    • Full Options

      Konami as a producer could do those things to his employees like Kojima or simply decide to not involve at all people they don’t want.
      Sony Picture Entertainment likely purchased to Konami the movie rights for adapting Metal Gear Solid to big screens, they are the producers, they pay all the bills.
      Unless there was some specific clause in their agreement, “forbidding Kojima to work on this project”, which I heavily doubt, Konami has technically nothing to add, even if Kojima himself was playing Snake in it..
      I think Kojima won’t apparently that much co-operate with the production because he is busy, but I am sure he could work on it wherever he wanted.

      For example, if SIE buy the game’s rights and unless there are some specific nasty clause in the contract, there is technically nothing Konami can do to prevent Sony for asking KP to develop it.

      • Alex

        I didn’t think about Sony, I hope that is the case, makes sense. Kojima may even get credited or at least a “based on Kojima’s games” type of line. Kojima has good relations with both Sony and Sony Pictures. As long as they get the movie out before whenever the original contract ends, they should be good. Konami can’t undo a decision they made back when they were cool lol.

        • Full Options

          I was first wondering as well if they only got the adaptation rights or the full movie rights, and with Konami’s methods your doubts were quite legit.
          But Jordan was Sony Picture choice, so if they can choose the producer, I am quite convinced now that they can choose any subsequent role in the production. I mean this gives a solid clue that they got the full movie rights and that Konami just seat here to receive money against them.

          This visit of Jordan to Kojima made me happy because it kind of validate all this even more than the scraps of information we had so far.
          As for Kojima’s name as the story creator, I am 1000% sure they will add this credit line because author respect / rights is something very serious. I still can’t believe how childish they behaved by wiping out his name from the game’s box art.

          Regarding him being cited as consultant or more as well is less clear, because we first need to figure out if Kojima is ok with the idea of making this that official. I am sure he’ll help Jordan at least officiously. Having his name in the intro and ending should be enough prestigious for him, as well.

          • It should at least say ‘Based on the series by Hideo Kojima’ or something like that, wether he is involved in the movie or not.

          • Full Options

            Exact, at least this kind of credit..

            Less seriously, I would have even put “A HIDEO KOJIMA MOVIE” with proper fonts on top, but nah… That’s Jordan’s movie… ;D

  • LeGuyWhoDownedQuiet
  • Biggy

    #Kojima not konami!!!!

  • proceeder

    Look, I’m glad some people are going to get what they want. More choice is always better. But, I’d like to state my total contempt for videogame movies & what I presume this movie will be.
    This, most likely, will be another way for Konami to milk the fans. This will be an excuse for those who don’t know much about the series to ridicule the fans, should the movie fail.
    Finally, MGS has been, for me, the experience of following Snake through his experiences, his overcoming the odds & his persistence; not the story.
    A 2-3 hr movie that tries to introduce new characters to an unfamiliar audience to the series, while telling a story IS going to fail to capture that.
    If they do it, I hope to God, they at least go precisely according to one of the games’ plots and not adapt, nor make their own script. But, I still know I won’t watch it.

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