There are hopes amongst fans that Prince of Persia: The Sands of TIme could usher in an era of video games adapted into Hollywood movies that don't make video game fans hang their head in shame. Does making that happen require a director that appreciates, understands and video games? Well, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time director Mike Newell didn't know the script was based on a game, but once he learned of the story's roots, he started investigating Prince of Persia's legacy.
Newell described how he became aware of the video game connection to ComingSoon.net:
"When I first went into it I was absolutely in ignorance of it being a video game. I then discovered within the first few weeks that it was a video game and said to him, "Look, what do you want? Do you want a video game? Because if you do, I think I'm the wrong guy for you. I don't play video games. I'm not video-literate. I can just about send an email." He said, "No, don't worry about it." I think the reason that he said that was that he knew that I would have other things to offer. There would be sort of character and story and emotional things that I would have to offer, and comedy and all of that. He didn't want to freak me by saying, "Actually, the video game audience is very important to me"... and of course, it is. There are a lot of them out there and we must be very careful to satisfy them, you know?
We don't want to insult them, and we do want to satisfy them. I got this kind of feeling, I'm not sure where from, that there was an opinion in that gaming world, that there had never been a proper movie of a game that had satisfied them and they hoped that I wasn't going to screw this one up. And so, at that point, I started to play the game. Well, I got the game played for me; I'm really bad at the game - he kept falling off the wall into the knives. I got my assistants to play the game and then we sort of got an idea of what the story was, how the game looked and we kind of cherry-picked it.
Plus there was the great Jordie Mechner and Jordie and I got on like a house on fire and he's a research freak. He's actually read these ancient Persian texts and things like that. You can go to him and you can say, "What do you think about this Jordie?" or "What were the swords like?" or "Was the water really pure?" He'll be able to tell you all of this fine, fine detail which gives it a great realism."
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time opens in theaters nationwide on Memorial Day weekend.