Probably everyone has forgotten that Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the 2011 cyberpunk action RPG, was being developed for the movie screens and it’s just as well, based on a portion of the script that’s been leaked this week.
Scott Kinney, a development executive for Prime Universe Productions, spoke to USA Today about the movie and provided some interesting revelations as to why it never came to be. Initially, it was being developed with Scott Derrickson in mind to direct and his Sinister collaborator C. Robert Cargill serving as co-writer of the screenplay.
You have to understand, in 2012, the year that Square Enix, Eidos Montreal and CBS Films announced the development deal, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was considered a rather legendary piece of work. Recent years haven’t been kind to it, with criticism levied against how much of it streamlined the “immersive sim” aspects of the original Deus Ex, itself considered a masterpiece.
But at the time, it made such an impression that Derrickson was willing to spend career heat on a Deus Ex movie, but eventually – as it so often does in Hollywood – the project died on the vine as Derrickson and Cargill went on to work on Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange. Funnily enough, both Doctor Strange and Adam Jensen are characters who receive crippling injuries and must come to terms with the new gifts they acquire.
“We made really good progress on [the Deus Ex] script, and it’s an incredible property,” Derrickson told Empire Online at the time. “It was a really positive process going on, and it was a little heartbreaking. Getting on Doctor Strange, this was the biggest downside of it. The fact that I needed to stop off Deus Ex. I couldn’t expect them to wait two years for me.”
Kinney told USA Today that the studio scrapped the script because “Deus Ex wasn’t the kind of film they wanted to make or felt comfortable making” and had begun a shift away “from making action films like Dwayne Johnson’s Faster, which they had previously financed” favoring profitable teen comedies like The Duff.
All that being said, the portions of the script published by USA Today are a bit cheesy, not in the it’s so bad it’s good territory mind you, just cringe. I mean, the original game is filled with heavy handed dialogue and a bunch of outright clunkers, but videogames tend to get away with that better than movies.
At one point, Jensen is facing off against one of the movie’s antagonists and as he slices off their arm, he says, “I never asked for this.” Trust me, it’s a real groaner and context does not improve it. The line is also wild because the script changes it so that Jensen requests for his augments from his corporate boss so he can get revenge for his ex-fiance. He quite literally, asked for them.