Jordan Vogt-Roberts burst onto the scene in 2017, coming from relative obscurity to land the director's chair for Kong: Skull Island. That blockbuster is garnering a lot of hype to propel the MonsterVerse to new heights. But he already has his sights on something he feels more passionate about.
Leading the charge for a video game adaptation of Metal Gear Solid, a production that will be based off the 1998 console edition, the director gave an update where the project was currently at.
“Metal Gear Solid is probably the most important franchise to me on the planet," remarks the filmmaker. "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.”
One Man, One Vision
Drawing a parallel to grand blockbusters from Marvel and DC, Vogt-Roberts says that the structure of the narrative has always maintained a purity because of it's minimal influence from external sources.
“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," he outlines. "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."
Not sticking to any one true philosophy of being overtly serious or becoming a parody of itself, Vogt-Roberts believes that he can strike a balance.
"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. Luckily there are amazing producers on it, but that’s a property that is so pure and important to my soul, because it’s something that I grew up on, that I would love to shepherd into the film that it needs to be. I think it’d be a massive film, I think it’d be an incredible film, but it needs to be done in a way that completely honors what Metal Gear is because it’s a classic and it’s a seminal work not just in video games, but in media.”
R Rating? Not Important For Director
If the aesthetics of the video game would suggest a very obvious rating and tone for Metal Gear Solid, Vogt-Roberts might not stick to that theory.
“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," he argued. "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.”
So where do you start in creating a video game world onto the big screen?
“I think right now the more important thing is let’s nail the voice, let’s nail a story that makes sense," Vogt-Roberts maps out. "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 Big Boss interact, how does Zero and all these other people interact with each other? How do you pick and choose the cyborg ninja and the sniper wolf and all these people and have them fit into a narrative that makes sense?”