Assassin’s Creed is about to arrive in movie theaters around the world on December 21, bringing the high-flying parkour and fluid combat of the series to life in a whole new way. During a recent roundtable, director Justin Kurzel and actors Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard spoke about capturing the magic of Assassin’s Creed. Kurzel explained, “the level of discussion and debate that we are constantly having about this game, and the ideas in it… it’s incredible material to base an origin story on.” One of the important pieces of that material is the Animus, an apparatus that joins the past with the present.
Assassin’s Creed tells the story of Callum Lynch (Fassbender), a man saved from death row only to find himself held in an Abstergo facility. A Templar doctor (Cotillard) seeks valuable information hidden in the genetic memories of Lynch’s ancestor, and so with the power of the Animus, Lynch is transported to 15th century Spain, where he walks in the boots of his Assassin ancestor, Aguilar.
The Animus of the movie is mechanical arm that grasps Lynch around the waist, allowing him to physically move as his ancestor does. In creating this version of the Animus, Kurzel wanted to underscore the physicality of the connection, and its importance in linking the past and the present. “We set [the Animus] in a kind of Templar Byzantine church, and created this kind of theatrical space in which the past would live and breathe and interact with Michael [Fassbender],” says Kurzel. “That became a great conduit between the two different looks and feels of [each era]… it was how we bridged the two worlds.”
The Animus was one part of translating the fast, flowing action of Assassin’s Creed to the big screen. With regards to the stunts and action scenes, Fassbender explained, “We wanted to do as much of it as possible, shooting on real locations with real people. We were gonna be [performing action scenes] in real, in old-school fashion, so therefore we needed to try and do as much of it as we could. I would say 95% of the fights, we did ourselves.”
You can see the results for yourself when Assassin’s Creed arrives in theaters on December 21. For more on Assassin’s Creed, be sure to check our previous coverage below: