Leave it to certain people to ruin it for everyone.
Work that began in 2006 on an MGM-backed film based on the 2010 video game and 2005 Dmitry Glukhovsky novel of the same name, 4A Games’ Metro 2033, has been halted, with the rights for the film transferring back to Glukhovsky. According to Glukhovsky, the reason behind this was due to scriptwriter F. Scott Frazier’s intentions to “Americanize” the film’s setting by moving it from Moscow to Washington DC.
“The project with MGM optioning this book and developing a script had brought us to nothing and the rights reverted to me,” stated Glukhovsky. Glukhovsky is still trying to find producers who will take on the project, and is hoping that the upcoming release of Metro Exodus will give him a bit of leverage.
As for Frazier’s script, taking it out of Russia and into the US would have taken a lot out of what made the game and its environment work. The game focused a lot on tribalism, nationalism, and xenophobia, with Communists and Nazis battling it out before a group of mysterious creatures referred to as the Dark Ones showed up to seemingly cause more headaches.
“A lot of things didn’t work out in Washington DC. In Washington DC, Nazis don’t work, Communists don’t work at all, and the Dark Ones don’t work. Washington DC is a black city basically. That’s not at all the allusion I want to have, it’s a metaphor of general xenophobia but it’s not a comment on African Americans at all. So it didn’t work.”
In fact, the Dark Ones, who were a key plot point in the novel and the game, were going to be replaced “with some kind of random beasts”, watering down the story entirely.
“They’re kind of afraid of setting it in Moscow because Americans have a reputation for liking stories about America,” said. Glukhovsky. “Again, with Metro Last Light and Metro 2033 – the books and the games – selling millions and millions of copies worldwide, it’s probably not as improbable now that people would accept a story happening in Moscow because that’s going to be the unique selling point.”
The latest entry in the series, Metro Exodus, arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC February 22nd, 2019.