Yesterday, Nintendo and Sony Pictures teamed up to deliver the shocking news that they were working on a live action adaptation of The Legend of Zelda. Even more so, they’d found their director already in Maze Runner and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Wes Ball. But it turns out Ball has had a long, long time to think about this.
As news broke that Ball would helm the Zelda film, people naturally went to rummage around the director’s social media mentions to see if he’d ever talked about the legendary Nintendo franchise—and it turns out he’s only done so twice. The first was earlier this year when, like half the world, Ball was obsessed with Tears of the Kindgom and watching clips of people doing unhinged things with its physics system—presumably at a time, perhaps, that he knew he’d been given the keys to Hyrule Kingdom himself:
The other is a more interesting pullout though: Ball tweeted about his ambitions to take on Zelda 13 years ago.
“Since I could never even hope to have the chance to direct it,” Ball wrote in early 2010, as Apollo prepared a decade-and-a-half-long wind up on his dodgeball of prophecy, “the next big mo-cap Avatar-like movie should be… THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.”
Although Zelda fans have longed for a movie for almost as long as the franchise has been around, it’s fair to say that a live-action adaptation was not itself high on anyone’s wishlist for the series—animation was always the seemingly logical choice to take on Zelda and its own penchant for evolving and iterating on its stylistic moods over the course of the games. But… maybe Ball is onto something with Avatar.
Say what you will about those movies from a narrative standpoint, James Cameron’s use of mo-cap and VFX technology to bring the Na’vi and Pandora’s fauna to life offers a fascinating root of inspiration to bring Zelda to the big screen as well—not just for obvious choices like the fantastical races of its worlds, like the Zora, Goron, or Gerudo. But what if the way to embrace Zelda’s aesthetic is to go that route for all of its characters, and make a live-action/animated blend that mixes real sets and practical elements with mo-cap performed characters? After all, Ball just got a taste of shooting a film with a largely mo-capped cast with his work on Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.
Either way, the director’s had a long time to think about it—and will likely have longer yet now that the project has become reality.
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