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Sam Raimi discusses Warcraft movie

Dawn Moore

Sam Raimi revealed quite a bit of information about his work on the Warcraft movie in a recent video interview with at the Saturn Awards.

Many promising things were said during the interview, but some points of interest include:

  • Raimi and scriptwriter Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot) are working on a treatment for the film. So far they've written a 40-page document.
  • Raimi is playing WoW to get a feel for the game world. He has a level 72 character.
  • Legendary Pictures (Batman Begins, Inception) is excited about the project and Legendary Pictures founder and producer, Thomas Tull is a big fan of the game.
  • The movie will be set entirely in the Warcraft universe. No video game component will exist in the film. (Thank Elune.)
Raimi also addressed where he is at with the Oz prequel, a project he signed onto last week. Raimi is now currently signed on to direct both films, and though he does not provide any confirmation on which film he will direct first, in the interview he seems much more invested in the Warcraft film at the moment. He says in the interview, "well, right now, I'm not really committed to Oz. We're going to have to wait and see how that all goes, but I did read it. I love the script. I think it's a great project. It's something I'd like to become involved with."

For the highlights from the interview, hit the jump. What's the thing about it [Warcraft] that most excites you as a filmmaker?

Raimi: I love the visual world that the guys over at Blizzard have created. It's incredibly, engrossingly, terrifying and exciting. I like the use of scale; the giant monsters they have. I love the different landscapes that your character can move through. I like the first person interaction you have with other players online. There are so many aspects about the game that I really enjoy, like the battle, doing sword battles. I like performing spells, and learning new spells, and getting to the next level like everyone else. The big thing that I think a lot of fans are wondering is: is this a film that you're envisioning taking place in the real world, and in this world. What's the angle on it that you guys are aiming for? How did you crack the story?

Raimi: We're still working on the story right now. And we've got a 40-page document, that needs a lot more work, but every draft that we do with Robert Rodat gets better and better. We're finding the characters, and through the characters we're finding the story. The angle -- there's no real angle on it. We're just trying to create realistic characters that can live in the world of Warcraft, as though you were in the game itself in one or two or three of those environments, and see the interaction with those great mythical iconic characters. What do you see that's cinematic about this world?
: Well like I was saying, the landscapes are incredibly cinematic. They're brilliantly designed. The characters themselves are really unique and fantastic, I love the different sizes and powers that they have. How some are great warriors with axes, like an orc. Or others like a human paladin can carry those great, awesome warhammers. I think that it'd be really cool to see them in battle. I'm attracted to the characters, the weaponry, the environment that they've created. Are there going to be people in your version of the movie that are playing a video game, or is this all taking place in the world of Warcraft.

Raimi: It would be taking place within the world of Warcraft. All in the world. Are you using any characters from the game?

Raimi: Well, we're trying to use - there are so many characters in the game, that we're really trying to pull up on the most exciting and different characters of the game. We couldn't -- you know it's so overwhelming. It really is a world -- a universe -- worlds in fact. And so many different characters, and so many different professions I don't think we could touch upon all of them satisfactorily. So we're trying to choose the ones that are interesting and could play a part in a drama that is slowly developing. As you're deciding on these high profile projects, what sort of things do you think about? "Will this be what I want to spend the next 2 years on?" What is your process?

Raimi: Well, I just look for something that really stirs me up, something I'm excited about, something I love, and I love playing that game. And I really got a sense of the environments and the characters, I feel like there can be great stories told in that landscape. So I try to pursue things that I'm excited about.
: Are you one of those people, who have sat there for the whole week, playing morning to night? Fans want to know how you relate to the material. So you, you're a fan of the game, you've been playing it yourself?

Raimi: Absolutely, I had a level 29 shaman that somebody deleted by accident when I worked my way up to. And now I've worked a new character all the way up to level 71 -- 72 sorry, so that's exactly how big a fan I am. I'm not into power leveling -- other people doing it for me -- I've spent that many days in the World of Warcraft. What studio has the property, and how has it been talking to them about this? Have you been feeling the studio very enthusiastic about the property?

Raimi: The studio is very enthusiastic, and it's Legendary Pictures. Thomas Tull is running Legenday, he's a great fan of the game himself. He's a fellow that really produces good quality pictures, I really like him. he's after making a top-quality movie, that's his only concern. He's very excited about the process, and I love working with him. I think that they release through Warner Brothers, but I consider Legendary the studio right now I think, you know the people who I've been working with creatively. You seem to be on World of Warcraft, possibly Oz. Are there other things that are circling around you that you're looking at? Or is Warcraft that much of a passion project that you're like "I really want this?"

Raimi: I really do want to make World of Warcraft, it's still a long ways away it's only a 40-page story. I really want to direct a picture. It's possible that a film that is ready to make could come in. I haven't seen it yet, but I love making movies. The development process is a little less interesting to me but it's something you have to do if you want to start something from scratch and that's what we did with World of Warcraft.

In the interview Raimi also dispels the rumors that he might be picking up direction for The Hobbit. He says he's just been spending the past couple months with his family, as well as reading and working with Rodat on the Warcraft script.

From here it's hard to say what film will claim Raimi first. From Raimi's end, Warcraft looks very likely but I would say it's dependent on which studio is more eager to push the projects forward to production. One important thing to note is that Raimi says he's read the Oz script, which while probably not a finished shooting script is still a more than what the Warcraft film has completed. It's still too early to know, though.

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