The Assassin’s Creed movie has a terrible rep; for the most part, it’s deserved. With so many fans of the games and the universe built around them, there was a great deal of anticipation when it was announced an Assassin’s Creed movie was in the works. Big names signed on, including Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, who took leading roles, and Justin Kurzel directed. This trio of talent were fresh from their epic interpretation of Macbeth, and many of us were convinced they were poised to break the streak of cursed video game films.
The problem was, it was just so dull. And yet, even the most boring movie can have exciting stuff going on in the wings. Here are seven things you didn’t know about the Assassin’s Creed movie…
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1. Michael Fassbender Had Never Heard Of Assassin’s Creed
If you’re reading this, you probably know the Assassin’s Creed film was based on the game franchise. Unless you’d spent several years living under a rock and missing the release of seven major games in the series, it would be pretty challenging to have never heard of AC.
Clearly, Michael Fassbender has been camped out in a cave. The star signed on for the role of Callum Lynch without ever having played the game. Not odd in and of itself, but he had never even heard of Assassin’s Creed at that point.
Once he discovered the game existed, he did play it. Now, you might think this was to explore the character he was to play and get to know Callum better. This was not the case, as Fassbender only played the game to understand the mechanics of how everything worked, particularly the free-running element.
2. Hey, Hey, Hay!
One of the more iconic moves made throughout the games is falling from a great height to land in a conveniently placed bale of hay. Whichever game you’re playing, it’s guaranteed you’ll find yourself falling into some hay.
It’s used so frequently that it became a bit of a running joke, particularly because the heights you tumbled from were increasingly great, while the hay stacks were worryingly small.
Assassin’s Creed movie director, Justin Kurzel, was adamant the film made a nod to this much-loved in-joke. That’s why, during one of the movie’s seemingly infinite chase scenes, Aguilar and Maria can be seen fleeing the evil Ojeda, while an anonymous soldier is thrown from a wall to land in a haystack.
3. Free Falling
Speaking of hay, the film boasts a free fall stunt that was the most ambitious performed in nearly thirty-five years. Stuntman Damien Walters executed a free fall jump that was exceptionally impressive. Plummeting from a height of 125 feet, the fall lasted nearly three seconds and saw Walters hit with an impact speed of 61 mph.
Kursel’s goal was to create the video game’s iconic ‘leap of faith’; the player’s avatar tumbles from a great height and lands (you guessed it) in a conveniently placed hay bale. It’s just unfortunate that so many effects were used. The average film viewer is hard-pressed to notice when the stunt takes place, as it looks so unrealistic you’d be forgiven for thinking it was created with CGI.
4. Iron Man Was Almost Leonardo da Vinci
Very early on in the production of the movie, rumors were flying around that Leonardo da Vinci would be played by Iron Man legend Robert Downey Jr. The character of Da Vinci has appeared in numerous games in the Assassin’s Creed to provide numerous outlandish weapons for Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
The rumor began on MoviePilot back in the Autumn of 2014, when the website announced that the Marvel icon had signed on as part of the cast of the Assassin’s Creed movie. Alas, the rumor proved to be false. One has to wonder if Downey’s presence on the project would have made the difference and turned an unmitigated flow into a film that was, at the very least, well received by fans.
5. The Wrong Finger
Becoming an Assassin requires sacrifice, specifically the sacrifice of your ring finger so that you can easily extend and retract your hidden blade. That blade is the discrete, deadly weapon of an Assassin, flying from their wrist whenever they need it, only to disappear once they’re done with it.
Way back in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Bayek accidentally lopped off his own finger, and since then, the removal of the ring finger has been a firm rule of the order. So it’s hardly surprising when the movie’s Aguilar has his own ring finger removed. What is odd, however, is that it’s the ring finger on his right hand. It should be the left hand the finger is taken from so that the dominant right-hand remains as strong as possible.
Given Aguilar is right-handed, this unfortunate error would have rendered him far less effective as a fighter.
6. So. Many. Beads
While there are a lot of flaws in this film, the costume design isn’t one of them. The costumes are some of the most beautiful and elaborate in any fantasy film, and that’s saying something.
This is particularly true of the segments of the film that take place in Spain during the 15th century. The costumes for each Assassin were two or three months in the making – each! For each costume, eight separate versions were created as they all served different purposes: running, fighting, jumping, or standing about looking badass.
Six thousand beads were used to create Aguilar’s costume alone. And every one of those was stitched on manually.
7. The Alternate Ending
The movie ends as Callum Lynch disappears with his fellow Abstergo captives, intent on starting a new brotherhood. Their goal is to protect humanity from the Templars’ dark machinations. It’s a fairly blah ending, as endings go, but again the whole film suffered from an overwhelming sense of mehness. Originally, however, there was a far darker ending planned.
In the movie’s original cut, the final battle saw a lot more fatalities, so many that Callum was heading off all on his lonesome. Test screenings told the team that audiences just weren’t happy with the notion of Callum wandering the world alone.
The ending was changed. Unfortunately, the rest of the film was not.
8. Blurred Lines Of Heroism
While there’s an obvious line to draw between Templars as villains and Assassins as heroes, Director Justin Kurzel purposefully blurred the lines between the two. He didn’t want everything to be quite so clear cut as Assassins being categorically right and Templars inevitably being villains. His vision was to represent the notion that any ideal – good or bad – can be corrupted, warped, and result in extremes. Assassins can fall victim to anarchy and chaos, while Templars can be forces for positive control.
At the same time, Michael Fassbender viewed the film as the antithesis of the Star Wars idealogy: a dark side and a light side. The Assassin’s Creed movie is highly ambiguous from a moral standpoint as a result. There are times during the film when both sides – the Assassins and the Templars – fall foul of hypocrisy, while the characters are more complex than being clean-cut good and outright evil.
This inevitably makes the film somewhat more provocative, as it forces audiences to decide for themselves which characters they empathize with, whose side they should be on, and how they feel about each.
9. So Many References
Anyone who has played the game will have spotted the many, many alludes and homages throughout the film. The movie’s Abstergo compound contains a veritable smorgasbord game treasures, from the flintlock pistols of Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, to Connor’s go-to weapon of choice, the bow.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate gets a shout-out in the form of the cane swords belonging to the Frye twins, Jacob and Evie. And, let’s not forget, the appearance of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, the one who began it all in 2007’s original Assassin’s Creed.
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