PDA

View Full Version : Deus Ex Screenplay Research



dtgreen
5th Oct 2010, 12:11
Hello Folks,

Haven't been this excited about a game for a long time, cannot wait until HR is released; a nice birthday present considering the fact I turn 30 in January. ;)

I'm an indie filmmaker setting out to write a feature length script, more as an exercise to see if I've got the chops to see the full process through more than anything, but with an eye to having something viable to shoot in the future.

Over the last few weeks I've been going through the Deus Ex plot and the original game script with a fine tooth comb, and I'm looking to write a script that is an adaptation of the story from the original game, and what we know about the early stages of the DX: HR story.

There are a couple of guidelines that I've set myself for the screenplay:

Suitable for low budget filmmaking (Not a Hollywood budget!)
Set within the UK and Europe (due to cost of filming in the U.S)
Closer to the present day i.e. not 2052

I've already made a number of decisions in relation to what can and cannot be in the story, for example, if I'm going to keep a character based around Tracer Tong, he won't be based in Hong Kong and the Triad sub-plot will likely be dispensed with. The basics of the grey death virus, UNATCO, terrorist factions etc will be intact for the most part.

I could use feedback to help me shape the overall setting/plot. A few questions to get you thinking:

What do you feel are the most important aspects of the main Deus Ex story that you would want to see translated to the screen?

What aspects of the story do you feel are mandatory and must be preserved?

What aspects of the story do you not care about and wouldn't make you grumble if you experience the story on the big screen?

Can J.C's troubled transformation from UNCATO agent to terrorist fugitive still be achieved without the augmentation technology, and the whole 'we created you' sub-plot?

How much did the development of the various Artificial Intelligence systems in the original interest you?

What did you feel was missing, or could of been expanded on in the original story?

Any feedback you can give me about what you would expect or be looking for in a game-to-film transition would be really useful; bearing in mind I'm writing it more as a gritty Bourne style drama than a huge SFX behemoth.

I've made some decisions already in terms of things to keep, leave out or change, but I wanted to ask the community its thoughts as fellow DX gamers. I'm aiming to have all of my research completed in the next month or two, and want to complete the script by Feb/March next year. Thanks in advance for your comments. :)

Cheers,
D.

AaronJ
6th Oct 2010, 23:55
What do you feel are the most important aspects of the main Deus Ex story that you would want to see translated to the screen?

-A conspiracy plot that isn't too obvious and cheesy e.g. "Alpha Protocol"
-A dystopian world (why Hell's Kitchen was the perfect location in the original game)
-Corruption (without being too Bourne, Green Zone, etc.)
-The points of the storyline aren't clouded by what could only be a cliche love plot. For JC, obviously. Anyone else is all fine, but JC simply can't have a love interest.

What aspects of the story do you feel are mandatory and must be preserved?

-The fact that it breaks the mould in all of the genres it can be classified into.
-Augmentations
-Hell's Kitchen. The centrepiece of the Deus Ex universe.
-Everything BUT what I've listed in the next question. I'm sorry that seems like a difficult way of putting it but it's easier in the end.

What aspects of the story do you not care about and wouldn't make you grumble if you experience the story on the big screen?

-The West Coast earthquakes that sunk California
-Gary Savage and X-51
-JC/Paul's parents. This is a biggie. Due to the large scale/continuity bible, some details of the game were not set in stone really, and for some there are two explanations. The backstory is one of the bigger ones.
-Jaime Reyes
-Gunther. I say this because it's so easy to go wrong with a character like this. As a main antagonist, Gunther's jealousy of JC's new technology in comparison to Gunther's rust and creaks is what should be focused on. NOT the fact that Gunther's huge and mean. That is toooooooo cliche.
-Anna. Just because of what you said regarding an early time period. Make it believable I guess.
-The names of the organization. This only applies IF you're taking from Invisible War at all. Having Illuminati and World Trade Organization soldiers is a bit over the top.

Can J.C's troubled transformation from UNCATO agent to terrorist fugitive still be achieved without the augmentation technology, and the whole 'we created you' sub-plot?

Not if you want it to be Deus Ex. I'm really not trying to be a smartass by asking: what do you actually think Deus Ex is without augmentation technology?

How much did the development of the various Artificial Intelligence systems in the original interest you?

A lot. The smart side of it. The conversations between Morpheus and JC are very, very iconic. Never, ever head in the Eagle Eye/WarGames direction.

What did you feel was missing, or could of been expanded on in the original story?

As a fellow filmmaker I understand the urge to touch up source material, but you've already stressed that what you're doing is an adaptation. With that comes dropping a lot of material, especially from a game as deep and diverse as the original Deus Ex, but adding on isn't what happens in an adaptation.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your script. The most exciting part of the process is writing something and realizing this will have your name on it forever.

P.S. Unfortunately you will have no filter to block out all the joke posts. Prepare yourself.

NKD
7th Oct 2010, 00:00
The entire movie has to be shot in first person, or it's not Deus Ex.

luminar
7th Oct 2010, 02:47
Philosophical and political dialogue!

OwlSolar
7th Oct 2010, 07:30
The entire movie has to be shot in first person, or it's not Deus Ex.
Including the credits.

beastosterone
7th Oct 2010, 07:56
The movie needs to stop every 5 minutes and explain to you in layman's terms exactly what's going on - include explosions and yelling to keep the target audience captivated.

Also, there needs to be a lot of super bro cool bro takedowns bro

Pinky_Powers
7th Oct 2010, 08:00
What do you feel are the most important aspects of the main Deus Ex story that you would want to see translated to the screen?

The first and strongest memory of I have of Deus Ex was my first play-through of the Demo. You start off knowing you're the good guy, and you take on those filthy terrorists! But by the end of the Liberty Island mission, I no longer knew who I was, who I was working for, or even if I was a good guy. My whole world was thrown into question. But it was only a subtle question at the beginning.

So all areas of the plot that develop from there are the most important to me. The process JC goes through before he's ready to fight wholeheartedly against UNATCO.

What aspects of the story do you feel are mandatory and must be preserved?

J.C. isn't big into books.

What aspects of the story do you not care about and wouldn't make you grumble if you experience the story on the big screen?

Knight_Killer

Can J.C's troubled transformation from UNCATO agent to terrorist fugitive still be achieved without the augmentation technology, and the whole 'we created you' sub-plot?

Not if you honestly want it to be Deus Ex.

Cyberpunk is the keyword here. Deus Ex is a marvelous cyberpunk story, and advanced technology and transhumanism is quite simply a core of the entire experience. It's an ever-present reality of the DX world.

As a movie guy, ask yourself... what would Blade Runner be without the Replicants?

How much did the development of the various Artificial Intelligence systems in the original interest you?

For me, this is the second greatest factor. If you do the J.C. leaving UNATCO plot justice, this should be your second main concern.
This AIs, their presence and development, their insight... in the end they're not only more intriguing than Bob Page, they're more important. In the end Helios looks down upon Page and says "you are not worthy". What does that tell you?

What did you feel was missing, or could of been expanded on in the original story?

There was no naked wildness... there should have been. Maybe an artsy scene were a rowdy horse penetrates Anna on the UNATCO conference table... or in Manderey's bathroom.

AlexOfSpades
7th Oct 2010, 20:27
[B]There was no naked wildness... there should have been. Maybe an artsy scene were a rowdy horse penetrates Anna on the UNATCO conference table... or in Manderey's bathroom.

And people got mad at me when i suggested something between Janice and Manderley over that Hermann thread of mine...

Angel-A
7th Oct 2010, 21:48
And people got mad at me when i suggested something between Janice and Manderley over that Hermann thread of mine...

Dude, Manderly is freaking old. Can't you see that a horse is so much nicer?

Pinky_Powers
7th Oct 2010, 22:04
Can't you see that a horse is so much nicer?

And bigger.

AlexOfSpades
7th Oct 2010, 22:18
Dude, Manderly is freaking old. Can't you see that a horse is so much nicer?


And bigger.



I'm speechless. And i'm out of the thread

Ninjerk
8th Oct 2010, 00:16
As a movie guy, ask yourself... what would Blade Runner be without the Replicants?


A story about Mexicans illegally emigrating to the U.S.

TrickyVein
8th Oct 2010, 00:25
And it turns out...

Decard is a Mexican!!! He dreams about Pinatas, and Gaff leaves paper-origami donkeys everywhere. He sleeps with a Mexican senorita, and kills three border hoppers.

"I've...seen things, you gringos wouldn't believe. Pickups on fire, off the merge-lane of I-95 - all those memories are lost...in time...like, cerveza, down the drain"

dtgreen
11th Nov 2010, 21:55
Not been back to the thread for a while! I've made a lot of progress fleshing out the story and the main focus of the plot. It's all slowly coming together. Thanks for the feedback, and the laughs! :)

Will post a big update over the weekend!

Rindill the Red
11th Nov 2010, 23:55
What do you feel are the most important aspects of the main Deus Ex story that you would want to see translated to the screen?

Movie adaptations of video games are always interesting because while the video game has you playing one character all the time, a movie can switch among scenes and characters.

Start with an adaptation of the Walton Simon - Bob Page discussion if you want to set up the plot really quickly.

-and/or-

Start in a Bond-like fashion with an adaptation of the liberty island "test" for J.C.



Can J.C's troubled transformation from UNCATO agent to terrorist fugitive still be achieved without the augmentation technology, and the whole 'we created you' sub-plot?

Can it? Yes. Should it? Not if you want to keep a huge part of the Deus Ex plot.

A low budget should not limit you from using augmentations.
1. Augmentations actually produce very few "special" effects.
- Augmented vision: JC and Paul's vision is augmented so their eyes glow blue... however they are always wearing sunglasses... so I'm pretty sure a pair of shades + small battery + two small blue lights (like in light pens) would do the trick. You could also use reflective contacts and a light source.
- Blue veins: JC and Paul exhibit this characteristic only a little... and Walton Simons quite a bit... blue veins can be achieved by any number of either cosmetic or wardrobe designs which could stay quite cheap.
- Infolink: A voice coming over a radio + small picture in picture (if that), can also just switch to Jacobson/or other character in room.
- IFF: Kinda meaningless in terms of movie... but if you go for a stylized first person view, you might want to include some sort of overlay identifying enemies and friends.
- Light: Um... a flashlight would work.
- Aggressive defense: rocket-grenade explodes before reaching target
- Spy drone: small floating machine like thing (wire + hobbled look-alike), can see with spy drone using camera and lens.
- Vision: like IFF, don't actually need to use special effect, but just have actor act like he can see through walls/in dark, etc.
- Targeting: like Vision, perhaps have JC more accurate/stable/faster with gun.
- Microfibral muscle: fake objects that appear heavy (actor fakes heaviness)
- Melee modifier: have J.C. knock some fake heads off in one swipe.
- Healing: cosmetic stop motion
- Energy shield: don't really need to show anything
- aqualung: string together cuts of character under water holding breath for long time.
- Environmental resistance: I don't know, not sure if it needs anything.
- Cloak: this one is tricky - you might make the character completely invisible (not have him in shot at all), but smudge the film a little and have actors-objects act as if he was there.
- Radar transparency: no visual effect, actor walks past robot/camera as if he was not there.
- Ballistic protection, emp shield: no visual effect required... have bullets appear not to affect him
- Run silent: remove footsteps with re-dubbed audio.
- speed enhancement: change frames captured per second, all actors but JC move slower.

So, that's just off the top of my head... I think it's perfectly viable to include augmentations.

LeMoN_LiMe
12th Nov 2010, 01:18
The first game was the greatest game ever made.

Keep everything exactly the same.

Period.

Angel-A
12th Nov 2010, 01:24
My two cents: stay as vanilla as you can to people's outfits in the game.
Also, whomever you get to play J.C. and Paul, they should look like the pciture of J.C. on the cover...
http://i.neoseeker.com/boxshots/R2FtZXMvUEMvUm9sZS1QbGF5aW5nL1NjaS1GaQ==/deus_ex_frontcover_large_XDgfV58RTAGgJSC.jpg

Pinky_Powers
12th Nov 2010, 05:11
^... So... Keanu Reeves.

;)

Rindill the Red
12th Nov 2010, 17:23
^... So... Keanu Reeves.

;)

http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs45/f/2009/113/a/a/J_C__Denton_by_Illumonic.jpg

Christopher Nolan's... Deus Ex... coming to theaters near you!

SageSavage
12th Nov 2010, 17:42
There are a couple of guidelines that I've set myself for the screenplay:

Suitable for low budget filmmaking (Not a Hollywood budget!)
Set within the UK and Europe (due to cost of filming in the U.S)
Closer to the present day i.e. not 2052



So is this something you actually want to realize or just an hypothetic experiment? If it's the latter why limiting yourself? If you're serious, just how much of a budget are we talking about? I just can't see this thing working out for anything under a couple of millions (which is low-budget in Hollywood-terms).

Also, I don't see a DX-based movie happening without an American and/or Asian metropolis. Sacrifices like this are pretty much exactly why I don't see this flying without considerable budget - apart from being generally opposed to movies based on games of course... :whistle:

Angel-A
12th Nov 2010, 19:29
^... So... Keanu Reeves.

;)


http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs45/f/2009/113/a/a/J_C__Denton_by_Illumonic.jpg

Christopher Nolan's... Deus Ex... coming to theaters near you!

IdbOKFp4Sr4

That's better.

Pinky_Powers
12th Nov 2010, 20:47
IdbOKFp4Sr4

That's better.

*wipes tear from eye*

Thank you for that. :D

Rindill the Red
12th Nov 2010, 20:53
IdbOKFp4Sr4

That's better.

Lol.

chickenbrothel
12th Nov 2010, 21:54
Well, I think Christopher Nolan could make an excellent Deus Ex film. And Christian Bale is a good actor, if a little one dimensional in scope. (also, he's apparently a dick in real life) I think Darren Aronofsky could also make an excellent Deus Ex film. Stanley Kubrick, if he were still alive, would probably make a really interesting Deus Ex film as well. Steven Speilberg is great at sci-fi, although they tend to be a little more shallow and graphics oriented than anything that the above directors put forth. Then again, Minority Report was pretty good. Oh, and I liked A.I. artificial Intelligence a lot, too. (pretty sure it got some pretty mixed reviews, though)

Unstoppable
13th Nov 2010, 09:17
I think the role if it were to happen should go to someone who's not an a hole and would appreciate it. Timothy Oliphant comes to mind, he played a good Hitman Codename 47. I wouldn't also mind Matt Damon hah. Schwarzenegger as Gunther Hermann, who else? I think only him and Dwayne Jonson (The Rock ex Wrestler) could do such a part.

Brockxz
13th Nov 2010, 09:44
I think the role if it were to happen should go to someone who's not an a hole and would appreciate it. Timothy Oliphant comes to mind, he played a good Hitman Codename 47. I wouldn't also mind Matt Damon hah. Schwarzenegger as Gunther Hermann, who else? I think only him and Dwayne Jonson (The Rock ex Wrestler) could do such a part.

Please not The Rock. I can't take that actor seriously after all those kiddie movies he is starring lately. He can't make serious face anymore (or he couldn't ever) :D

Angel-A
13th Nov 2010, 10:36
^Also, Gunther wasn't a black guy.
Which reminds me: dtgreen, please be aware of the character's races/ethnicities. They may seem obvious, but I'm shocked by how many people completely miss that Jaime Reyes is hispanic...



*wipes tear from eye*

Thank you for that. :D
I stand only for truth. *ride into sunset*

Pinky_Powers
13th Nov 2010, 19:28
Please not The Rock. I can't take that actor seriously after all those kiddie movies he is starring lately. He can't make serious face anymore (or he couldn't ever) :D

http://l.yimg.com/eb/ymv/us/img/hv/photo/movie_pix/mgm/be_cool/dwayne__the_rock__johnson/becool1.jpg
:D


but I'm shocked by how many people completely miss that Jaime Reyes is hispanic...

Are you serious? What do they think he is? :eek:

Angel-A
13th Nov 2010, 19:50
Are you serious? What do they think he is? :eek:
I'm not joking at all. Whenever there's an "IRL characters" going on, a crazy amount of the actors people post as Jaime are white. I won't even get started on the DX videos where he is refered to as *ahem* "Jame Rays."

Rindill the Red
22nd Nov 2010, 17:26
Rindill the Necromancer strikes again...

http://www.techspot.com/news/41215-amazon-launches-movie-studio-starts-with-27-million-in-awards.html

OP should take a look at this.

kdawg88
23rd Nov 2010, 04:00
What do you feel are the most important aspects of the main Deus Ex story that you would want to see translated to the screen?
The subversion of JC's views on the NSF, his employer and the whole world order thingy, whether he learns it through Paul or Lebedev or whomever...I think that turnaround is the most important part of the plot, so be sure to make it clear in his treatment of terrorists (such as the leader in the statue.)

Through the above point, JC as a character must transcend from a run-of-the-mill secret agent to become "humanity's liberator" or however you want to put it: there should be a deus ex machina of sorts - JC rises to a higher purpose, representing the post-human who saves the day.

What aspects of the story do you feel are mandatory and must be preserved?
Same as above (I think you need to rephrase your questions...)

What aspects of the story do you not care about and wouldn't make you grumble if you experience the story on the big screen?
Don't pay too much attention to detail - focus more on characters and culture to project the setting - e.g. Tracer Tong/Gordon Quick, Chad Dumier/Nicolette DuClare.

You can definitely leave out the 'throwaway missions' such as the Paris Cathedral and the Hostage Rescue, those are really there for the video game, not so much the plot (not that I didn't enjoy them for the atmosphere).

Obviously there are far too many characters in the game to focus on all of them, let alone get actors. My suggestion (and this is just off the top of my head) is to focus the most on on Paul, maybe Jaime at the beginning, Tracer Tong, Morgan Everett, Bob Page and possibly the AIs (particularly Helios). By leaving out some characters you effectively leave out those sections of the game, such as the superfreighter mission.
Still, I think it's important to maintain the film as having a globalised setting, given the cyberpunk-style plot.


Can J.C's troubled transformation from UNCATO agent to terrorist fugitive still be achieved without the augmentation technology, and the whole 'we created you' sub-plot?
As mentioned by another user, this is cyberpunk. You could do something interesting with the irony in the 'we created you' thing, too. That said, you're on a tight budget, so you could take a page out of the Bourne series and just say he was brainwashed or something.

How much did the development of the various Artificial Intelligence systems in the original interest you?
Again, this is cyberpunk, it was definitely one of the more philosophical parts of the game. I'd suggest just focusing on Helios, and use Helios to project the philosophies behind the plot.

What did you feel was missing, or could have been expanded on in the original story?
Not a lot really, given that it was such an expansive story/setting. Perhaps you could look into the aftermath? Or you could shed some light on the relationship between Everett and Page.