To say that video game adaptations don't have the best reputation would be a monumental understatement. Running the gamut from the vaguely watchable but brainless Resident Evil films (which bare little more than a passing resemblance to the original games), through Angelina Jolie's tonally inconsistent Tomb Raider, and climaxing with the genuine cinematic abortion that is the Super Mario Bros movie, I think it's fair to say that Hollywood has not been kind to our favourite gaming franchises. The latest contender, however, looks set to turn the tables thanks to the bonafide star power of its leading man and the existing quality of the source material's story and the world underpinning it.
I'm referring, of course, to Assassin's Creed, which is set for a UK theatrical release on the 1st of January 2017 and stars Magneto himself, Michael Fassbender, as the titular assassin “Aguilar.” Anyone who has ever played as Ass Creed (chuckle) game will tell you that the most iconic aspect of any game is the 'Leap of Faith' sections, which see your character diving from monumental heights and landing unscathed in a bale of hay. Channel 4, in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, are celebrating this iconic moment, which it has reportedly gone to great lengths to replicate in the film, with a world first broadcast stunt never before attempted live in a TV ad break. On Sunday 18th December, Hollywood stuntman Dave Grant will free fall from almost 100 feet at a speed of over 50mph live on air. The stunt aims to underline the fact that the film’s Director, Justin Kurzel, opted for real life stunts in place of CGI wherever possible.
Dave is one of only a handful of stuntmen capable of performing a free fall from this height meaning jumps such as this are rarely attempted, even on film sets. The ad will be filmed outdoors at Millennium Mills, a derelict flour mill in Newham, London where there will be many variables for Dave to overcome on the night, including negotiating the dark, winter weather conditions and jumping live on national television. The dramatic 100 second ad break, produced by creative company The Outfit, will air at approximately 9.10pm during Channel 4’s Humans, when viewers will also be treated to an exclusive first look at footage from the film. 10 second teaser ads will also appear on air this week across Channel 4 and E4 and viewers will also be encouraged to join the conversation on social media using the #C4LeapOfFaith hashtag. The live action will be directed by Matt Askem, whose credits include The London 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony, three Take That live tours and the Range Rover Sport Launch featuring Daniel Craig.
Angus Mitchell, Agency Principal at Channel 4, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be making TV history with Twentieth Century Fox by attempting something no other broadcaster has ever dared to. This innovative idea was developed through 4 Sales’ creative arm PL4Y and is the perfect way to celebrate and showcase the fantastic stunts in the film.” Charlie Read, Founding Partner at The Outfit, said: “In a world of CGI film action sequences we wanted to pay homage to the use of real stunt action sequences used in the film. By recreating a Live Leap of Faith, we wanted to give the audience an insight into the skill and thrill of real stunts and get people excited about the theatrical release of the film.” Lin-Sze Teh, Business Director at Vizeum, whose sister agency The Story Lab helped negotiate the partnership between Channel 4 and Twentieth Century Fox, said: “In bringing the Assassin’s Creed franchise to the big screen from the console, we wanted moviegoers to reappraise the franchise and connect with the central character’s story. With raw physicality a central theme, we knew that a live stunt of this magnitude was the only way to demonstrate this and capture the nation’s attention at a fiercely competitive time of year.”
“In the movie Damien Walters performed a record breaking Leap of Faith from 120 feet unassisted by wires and ropes, which was amazing to see. I’m very excited that Dave Grant will be doing 100 ft. Leap of Faith live on television next week” Michael Fassbender
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK. His favourite Assassin's Creed game is Black Flag. Because. Pirates.