John Woo’s Metroid movie made Nintendo “uncomfortable”

Producer Brad Foxhoven talks about John Woo’s plans for a Metroid movie

Samus Aran in her classic Metroid guise

Speaking to IGN about the three years that John Woo’s Tiger Hill Entertainment spent developing a sci-fi movie based on the Metroid videogame series producer Brad Foxhoven explained that they need to update the character designs and significantly expand the backstory in ways that made Nintendo uneasy.

“We knew that a lot of the Metroid mythology had many similarities to other well-known science fiction franchises, so we had to try and propose some fresh ideas that Nintendo would approve,” explains Foxhoven. “We also knew that the characters were originally developed many years ago, when game systems were limited in their graphics and animation. These same designs needed to be updated, particularly when seen as a live-action representation.”

A script worked up by Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel writer, and Grimm showrunner David Greenwalt would have focused on the game’s protagonist, the two-dimensional Samus Aran.

“Tiger wanted to explore who Samus was before she became the lone bounty hunter featured in the games…. the movie version of Samus was to be an exceptionally talented, but also flawed character who was looking for redemption,” added Foxhoven. “We wanted to see her struggle, to be humbled, and to be forced to rise up against crazy odds. And of course we wanted to see the cool weapons in all of their glory.”

“Things started to go south when we tried to dig into the character a bit more. As you know, any film needs a deeper story arc than what is told in the game, where we learn about the characters and their world. What are they doing when they are NOT fighting? What is their daily existence and relationships? What are Samus’s aspirations, history, and fears? Nintendo appreciated the questions, but had never thought about them before, and ultimately didn’t have a lot of answers. In the end, they felt uncomfortable with our team being the ones to propose those answers.”

The producer added that a Metroid adaptation could still happen, saying, “I know for Nintendo, they walked away appreciating the process and how much further they needed to explore the franchise so that it has a chance for a feature film at some point. I still believe there is a chance. There are quite a few Hollywood executives in town who grew up playing Metroid, and who would be willing to take the time needed to bring Nintendo along in the process.”

Pick up the most recent game in the franchise Metroid: Other M for the Wii priced £10 from Amazon.co.uk.