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Simply impossible to film? Inside The Sims Movie That Never Was

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 Simply impossible to film? Inside The Sims Movie That Never Was

W.When the news came out that Margot Robbie is ready to produce a movie Based on the iconic life simulation video game The Sims, many people’s first response was, “How the hell do you make a movie out of The Sims?” It may be one of the best-selling game series of all time, but more importantly, it doesn’t really have any plot to work with. The point is that it’s a sandbox life simulator and players can do whatever they want.

All this has happened before. In 2007 it was announced that a film based on The Sims would hit the big screen, with the then 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) acquiring the rights. It was written by Brian Lynch, who has become Hollywood’s screenwriter of choice for some of the biggest and most critically acclaimed family animations of the last decade, including Puss in Boots (2011), Minions (2015), and Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). ) and the Secret Life of Pets movies.

Lynch’s The Sims movie, he tells us, was a wish-fulfillment adventure. In simpler terms, “a boy realizes that everything he does in his game of The Sims happens in his town the next day. He creates the life he always wanted. He gets out of control.”

The script was inspired by blockbusters like Weird Science and Bruce Almighty, with a teen comedy vibe reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin films, Lynch says. “My script was about a shy teenager who overthought every moment of his life. He recreates his entire town in the Sims game as a way to test interactions and relationships…start with small changes and then start having fun with it.”

Brian Lynch is behind hits like Minions and The Secret Life of Pets. Photography: Nina Prommer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Things go wrong and the city begins to lose control. Then, “the town’s bad guy takes over and becomes some kind of angry God, turning the town into a huge video game world with monsters, and our leader, who has no powers or abilities at the time, has to stop it. ” he says.

This is a Sims movie we’ll never see that had a “strange personality,” says Lynch. “A kid playing God leads to big, weird scenes: super crazy versions of his school and his family, with really cool visuals.”

Executives loved this version of the franchise, with The Sims developer EA and the head of Fox all on board. Finally, gaming royalty gave it the green light.

“Producer John Davis (Predator, Garfield) invited me to his office to introduce him to someone, I had no idea who it was. He never introduced us, and at that point he had introduced her to a lot of people, so I thought he was another executive from Fox or EA,” says Lynch.

“After the speech, while we were together, I realized it was Will Wright, the creator of The Sims. “I’m really glad I didn’t know it was him, I would have been very nervous.”

‘Over two decades of material’… The Sims. Photography: EA Games

Some fans at the time criticized the news of Sims on the big screen. “I got a lot of flak when it was announced…they didn’t reveal the story, so people thought it was a cash grab, I guess,” Lynch says. But it was meant to be full of references that fans would enjoy, with Lynch flying to EA’s headquarters in California to work with the team on the film. “When the game starts to crash, all the characters except the protagonist speak in Simlish,” says Lynch.

An especially fun reference would have been when our hero downloads the celebrity expansion pack. “There would be famous people playing themselves, walking around town and at school. That would have been great. But all the clues probably would have been unknown, which I think also added to the reasons why Fox didn’t make it,” Lynch says.

Money, unsurprisingly, is another reason the film failed. “It would have been live action but with a lot of special effects, which I think is what ultimately made it happen. It was probably too expensive in the long run. Maybe we should have tried animation.”

There are many reasons why a movie, even one based on such a recognizable series, can end up stuck in the dreaded development hell. In 2011, four years after its announcement, The Sims movie was still in development. “They asked one of my friends to direct it,” Lynch says, but he’s not sure what happened next. “(It was) a little sad because it’s a fun idea. I think I executed it well and it was based on a game that everyone knows. “I had high hopes for it.”

Loki director Kate Herron has signed on for The Sims movie. Photography: Alberto E Rodríguez/Getty Images for Disney

What could all this mean for Robbie’s The Sims movie, which will be produced by his production company, LuckyChap, and directed by Loki’s Kate Herron? It might seem like The Sims doesn’t really have a plot (Lynch doesn’t think so, and Wright envisioned it as an interactive dollhouse), but that shouldn’t be a problem for the production company that had a big hit last year with The Sims. barbie movie “I’m a fan of everyone involved, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve cooked up,” Lynch says.

And in fact, the four huge Sims games provide more than two decades worth of material, if you know where to look. Recurring characters, expansion packs, intricate family trees, missing people, and aliens make up an expanding multiverse of timelines and subplots. The disappearance of one of gaming’s most recognizable characters, Bella Goth, which occurs off-screen between The Sims and The Sims 2, is one of gaming’s biggest mysteries and deserves a film adaptation in itself.

Now that a recent string of good (and great) video game adaptations has lifted the curse of the video game movie, Lynch is interested in another of EA’s iconic game series. “I talked to the people at EA (about) SSX Tricky,” he says. “It’s a snowboarding game, but it has its own incredible personality: from almost anime visuals to an incredible soundtrack.

“I thought it would be something like Fast and Furious, but with Scott Pilgrimesque snowboarding sequences and the best soundtrack of all time… Someone should call me on that. “It could be a lot of fun.”

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