‘Assassin’s Creed’, the long-awaited adaptation of the hit Ubisoft game starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons, arrives in cinemas on New Year’s Day.
Fans of the video game franchise will immediately notice that the big screen version has one major difference from the source material: the Animus.
The Animus is a virtual reality device used by the Assassin’s Creed to regress into past lives, and it usually takes the form of a reclining table or chair that the user lays on, but for the movie, director Justin Kurzel (‘Snowtown’, ‘Macbeth’) knew he needed something more visually interesting.
“My biggest worry was having Michael [Fassbender] stuck in a chair for six weeks and just doing a lot of eye movement,” Kurzel explains in our exclusive roundtable interview above.
“So I was working out how we could shoot that in a different way. So we decided to try make it a bit more physical, and make it a little bit more exciting for a film.”
The new big-screen Animus, which may be utilised in future instalments of the game, takes the form of an articulated robotic arm that lifts the user up and throws them around as they relive the glories of their forefathers – in the movie’s case it’s Fassbender’s Cal Lynch regressing into the life of Aguilar de Nerha, a deadly assassin, in 15th century Spain as the Creed track down the Apple of Eden.
However, the arm wasn’t the first concept discussed by the filmmakers.
“There was an idea that Michael and I talked about,” explains Kurzel, “Where we would have [Cal] suspended in water the whole time, with an oxygen mask.”
“I’m so glad we didn’t do that,” adds Fassbender, “coming up like a prune every day.”
“I’m really glad we got to this arm, and the projections, I think it’s quite a cool idea,” says Kurzel.
“It was a great idea,” adds Fassbender, “so much so that actually Ubisoft is considering putting in future games.”
A version of the water tank idea did make it into the finished film, with Cal using it at one point to help with his post-Animus recovery – see below.
Watch the rest of our interview above to hear what the director and stars of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ have to say about the difficulties of shooting a period film, the uncomfortable costumes, and moving from ‘Macbeth’ to a video game adaptation.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ is in cinemas on New Year’s Day.