Breaking onto the scene with the indie “Kings of Summer,” filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts is dipping his toe in big-budget waters with the impressive looking “Kong: Skull Island” due for release next month.
Now, whilst doing press for that film, he offered an update on the feature adaptation of the beloved video game franchise “Metal Gear Solid”. The project has been in the works for years with Vogt-Roberts signing on two years ago. With ‘Kong’ essentially done, will he jump to that? Collider asked him and this was his response this week:
“Metal Gear Solid is probably the most important franchise to me on the planet. It is such a genius, idiosyncratic work and being able to spend time with [Hideo] Kojima recently has been like a dream. He’s the best and his whole team is the best.
We are working on the script. That is a property that I will fight tooth and nail to make sure is done properly because it’s so easy to screw it up and so easy for a studio to try and make it into G.I. Joe or try and make it into Mission: Impossible or try and make it into something that it’s not. Metal Gear Solid needs to be exactly what it needs to be, which is Metal Gear Solid.”
It’s so interesting because unlike a comic book that’s had 40 writers or 100 writers over the course of a decade or two decades or whatever, for decades now Metal Gear Solid has essentially had one voice. So you’re dealing with a highly, highly specific property that’s idiosyncratic to one persona and one person’s point of view and the way in which they interpret sort of culture and Western culture and twist that back around into this super pure amazing property that has a tone that I think is unlike anything else that is out there.
I actually think that when people see [Kong] they’ll realize like, ‘Oh tonally there are things that sort of line up with this’ where this can be incredibly serious and dark and intense or it can also be incredibly goofy and kind of take the piss out of itself and be slapstick at times, much like Metal Gear.”
With “Deadpool” and now “Logan” showing that you can do blockbuster action films with R ratings and be hugely successful, could ‘Metal Gear’ follow suit? Vogt-Roberts says that isn’t a given just yet.
“I think that for me, I want to make the version of the movie that is most true to what it needs to be, so if that is a Deadpool or Logan route where you go with a smaller budget and you’re able to make it R, great. If you need to blow it out more and really get that bigger budget and go PG-13, I think it could exist in both avenues.
There are hyper-violent parts to Metal Gear but I would not necessarily call the hyper-violent part the core element of it versus like the tone and the voice and the philosophies that the characters exhibit. Those characters sort of are these walking philosophies, so I think nailing that part is far more important necessarily than thinking about the rating at this point, because right now we’re just trying to get the best version of it.
I think right now the more important thing is let’s nail the voice, let’s nail a story that makes sense. You look at the scope of the Metal Gear world and you go all the way back to the ’60s and before that in the lore, and then you go to the more contemporary games in the near-future and stuff like that, you’re dealing with decades and decades and decades of characters.
You’re dealing with like okay how do Snake and Boston interact, how does Zero and all these other people interact with each other? How do you pick and choose the cyborg ninjas and the sniper wolves and all these people and have them fit into a narrative that makes sense?
So first and foremost beyond thinking about budget, I wanna find the version that someone like you who’s like a superfan of this property would say, ‘They did it. That’s my Metal Gear. That’s my s–t.’ Beyond it being a video game movie, beyond the difference between active experience and passive experience and why people haven’t been able to translate an active experience into a good passive experience in the shape of a film, beyond that question to me it’s not even about being a video game movie, Metal Gear is an important story, an important set of characters.
So it just needs to be approached right now from how we nail that, and once we nail that then budget questions will happen, then those things will happen down the road, but right now I’m just working with incredible producers and trying to make a version that you or a Metal Gear megafan would be proud of… it’s such a potentially massive thing that we’re focused on getting that right first”
Vogt-Roberts certainly has a love of the material from the sounds of it. More fro him on the subject is can be found here.