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Pulpy Horror Maestro Eli Roth Directing The Borderlands Movie — And It’s A Solid Pick!

Anyone else forget that the Borderlands movie was a thing? The space western video game exploded onto the scene in style back in the late 2000s. With its off-kilter sense of humor, cartoony style and gore, it delighted fans to no end. For this writer in particular, it was cool to see a video game taking the western genre less seriously than others of the Red Dead variety. It went for violent and goofy more often than not, giving it an undeniable charm and personality. 

It’s also one of the more cinematic games out there. You only need to see the pulpy opening to see the film influences. Unlike other cinematic games, this one takes advantage of things like title cards and editing to get its point across. In many ways, its style feels reminiscent of filmmakers like Edgar Wright and Matthew Vaughn.

I mean, just take a look at the first game’s opening.

And yet, in spite of this, it’s taken a bit for the game to take the leap onto the big screen. I recall covering this movie what must have been five years ago for another site at the time, and always seem to forget it’s in the works. Last year, it was reported as in-development at Lionsgate with Avi Arad producing. Onboard as writer was Aaron Berg, and most excitingly, was the fact that they were shooting for an R rating, which is key here. But who could be on board to direct?

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As you can tell, I already gave my pie in the sky choices above, but yeah, they’re busy dudes. You know who’s apparently not busy? Horror maestro Eli Roth. At least that’s the word we’re hearing on the street. As was noticed by Kotaku, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford released a tweet about Eli Roth hopping on board the video game adaptation, but that tweet was quickly deleted.

Here’s what the tweet said.

“I’m very excited to welcome Eli Roth as Director of the Borderlands movie in development with Lionsgate and Arad Productions. Please welcome @eliroth to the team and be sure to catch the @GearboxOfficial Main Theater Show at #PAXEast on 2/27 to learn more.”

Attached was an image of Eli Roth’s face to an image, which I won’t post here for copyright reasons.

This was quickly confirmed by Lionsgate earlier today.

Roth said in a statement, “I’m so excited to dive into the world of Borderlands and I could not be doing it with a better script, producing team, and studio. I have a long, successful history with Lionsgate – I feel like we have grown up together and that everything in my directing career has led to a project of this scale and ambition. I look forward to bringing my own energy, ideas, and vision to the wild, fun, and endlessly creative world of the game. Randy Pitchford and everyone at Gearbox have been incredibly supportive of my ideas – it really feels like a perfect storm of creators coming together. We are out to make a new classic, one which the fans of the game will love, but also one which will find new audiences globally.”

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“With Eli’s vision and Craig’s screenplay, we believe we have cracked the code on bringing the anarchic world of Borderlands to the big screen in a big way that will be a fresh, compelling and cinematic event for moviegoers and fans of the game,” said Kahane.

“I’m incredibly proud we can bring this beloved video game to theaters for our fans around the world. Eli and Craig, already accomplished and remarkable visionaries, will be amazing stewards of Gearbox’s innovative Borderlands characters and stories,” said Pitchford.

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest Eli Roth fan, but his filmography does indicate he’d be down to lean into the pulpier aspects of the Borderlands series. Most recently, his Bruce Willis film Death Wish faced critical panning and box office lethargy, so I’m not sure he’s exactly in demand. I also know that that movie made him a bit of a controversial figure.

Controversies aside, this choice at least has me interested. He’s certainly one of the name that comes to mind when I hear the word “pulpy,” so it does seem like a good fit. Also, quite unexpectedly, he directed the kid flick The House With the Clock in Its Walls, which was a fun charmer. But what do you think? Are you as optimistic as I or are you too caught up in silly things like his inconsistent track record? Let us know your thoughts down below!

Who would you have direct a Borderlands movie? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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