Final Fantasy X: The Movie Pitch (Part 1)
Why hello again, Final Fantasy X. How long has it been now? A week? Two weeks? Longer? Who the hell knows? In any event, after receiving a challenge from fellow wrestling/movie/FFX fan and buddy of mine 'Plan, here we are back in the land of Spira. What exactly did 'Plan challenge me to? Simply put, he wanted me to pitch a movie adaptation of Final Fantasy X. Yup, you read that correctly. And like any writer open to a challenge, I had no problem accepting. Of course, there's a reason I had no problem accepting this challenge, and it has nothing to do with the Academy Award worthy line Auron delivers in the first half of the game.
For those of you who don't know, my ultimate career aspiration is to be a screenwriter. In fact, I've actually written a couple of screenplays over the years, ranging from comically bad to surprisingly solid (greatness doesn't happen overnight!). My dream project however is Final Fantasy X, at least as far as adaptations go. It checks off a ton of interests I have in filmmaking; ideas based in science fiction, epic scope, fascinating characters and a chance to be innovative (stunningly, you could make an argument today that there's yet to be an excellent video game adaptation). So not only was I excited to take this challenge, I've somewhat taken it on already. I actually have 20 pages of an unofficial FFX script lying around somewhere. My brother and I have for years discussed how to break the game into a complete film/films, who to cast and what to use or get rid of. Thus, you can consider this the evolution of a project I one day hope to do.
So with all of that said, what exactly is the plan here? To put it bluntly, Final Fantasy X cannot be adapted into one film. Well I suppose it could, but in order for it to be a complete vision, it would have to be five hours long, and I'm pretty sure no one outside of Novecento die hards would be willing to trudge through that run time. So what I've done for this pitch is split the game into a trilogy; three films to make up the whole story. Tonight will focus on the first film, how much ground the film will cover, how much will be cut and how I would cast the film. I will follow that up with parts two and three to cover the second and third proposed film, with a four column possible to tie up loose ends. Sound good? I hope so. Well, I think I've wasted enough time on exposition here. Let's cut to the chase. How about I pitch you a movie?
Final Fantasy X Film Pitch Part 1
Film 1: Final Fantasy: Sin
Tidus is a star blitzball player living in the futuristic metropolis Zanarkand. Though at the height of his fame, he cannot escape the shadow of his father Jecht, a former blitzball star who disappeared ten years ago. During the finals of a blitzball tournament, Zanarkand is attacked by Sin, a giant sea creature. The city is leveled, and Tidus is forced to escape with the help of Auron, a friend of his father's. Instead, they are absorbed into Sin.
Tidus washes up off the coast of a tropical island and is brought ashore by the natives, including blitzball player Wakka. Upon awaking, Tidus learns that he is on the island of Besaid and that Zanarkand was destroyed over a thousand years ago. While Wakka believes that Tidus is suffering from the affects of Sin's toxins, Tidus firmly believes Sin sent him 1,000 years into the future, and that encountering him again will help bring him home. The two quickly befriend each other, and Wakka introduces Tidus to his companions; the Ronso warrior Kimahri, the mage Lulu and Yuna, a young girl who is training to become a summoner in order to defeat Sin. Tidus immediately finds himself attracted to Yuna.
Yuna quickly becomes a summoner, meaning her pilgrimage to defeat Sin must begin, with Wakka, Lulu and Kimahri as her guardians. Believing that they may be able to find someone Tidus knows in Spira's capital city Luca, the group brings Tidus along, with Wakka making him an official member of the Besaid blitzball team. The voyage to Luca quickly turns deadly when Sin attacks the pilgrimage's ship. Tidus, Yuna, the guardians and the rest of the crew are able to fight off Sin, who instead heads to the nearby island of Kilika, wiping out most of the population. The group stops in what remains of the island for Yuna to perform a sending for the dead. Tidus, having come close to Sin again, only to still remain in Spira, realizes that he likely cannot make it back to Zanarkand.
The guardians resume their pilgrimage and arrive in Luca, where they encounter the leaders of the Yevon Order, including the Grand Maester and the young Maester Seymour, who takes an interest in Yuna. Tidus joins Wakka in the blitzball tournament (being done in the Grand Maester's honor), leading Besaid to their first ever championship after they upset the Al Bhed and the hometown Luca. Immediately following the tournament, Luca is attacked by fiends from Sin. The guardians struggle to hold them off, until they are assisted by a returning Auron and Seymour, who uses his powers to drive the fiends away.
Tidus confronts Auron for an explanation of what happened to them. Auron explains that ten years ago, Auron recruited Jecht to leave Zanarkand to become a guardian for Lord Braska, Yuna's father. The trio defeated Sin, but at a price, as Auron informs a stunned Tidus that "Sin is Jecht." Tidus refuses to believe it, but is convinced by Auron to join him in becoming Yuna's guardian, believing that the answers he seeks lie in the journey. Tidus and Yuna share a moment before departing from Luca, as the pilgrimage continues.
What Will Be Cut
Tidus' initial encounter with Rikku and the Al Bhed upon arriving in Spira and Tidus, Kimahri and Lulu having to rescue Yuna from the Al Bhed in Luca. While Yuna's visit to the Kilika Temple will be featured, it will be shortened substantially.
Sam Claflin as Tidus (always had the look and charisma for the role, and has now proven in recent years to have the acting chops. A no brainer)
Go Ah-sung as Yuna (was brilliant in the film Snowpiercer, looks the part, and can add a layer of darkness to a character that's mostly upbeat)
Jeffery Dean Morgan as Auron (was born to play the gruff, bad ass mentor. Auron is as gruff and bad ass as they come)
Jason Moama as Wakka (fits the physical bill, would take the role seriously while also having fun, as opposed to some actors who would go too far in one direction)
Emmy Rossum as Lulu (great actress, could easily pull off the goth/mage role, as well as serving as the perfect foil to Wakka)
Evan Parke as Kimahri (talented, and able to blend into the background, where as a bigger name would distract. Watch his performance in King Kong to see what he can do).
Timothy Olyphant as Jecht (give him dreds and he's Jecht. Almost as much a no brainer as Claflin is)
Oliver Phelps as Luzzu (George Weasely gets his first post Harry Potter break! Would add some humor to the serious Luzzu character)
Danny Pudi as Gatta (youthful look gives him the nod to be the understudy)
Nicholas Hoult as Seymour (one of the best young actors working today, capable of being an amazing villain if given a chance. Also looks the part of Seymour, if you gave him the weirdest purple hairdo of all time. Will be a much bigger factor in the later films)
Grand Maester: Ron Glass (aced the role of Sheppard Book in Firefly/Serenity and could easily ace a more corrupt version of that character here. Like Seymour, will see his role expanded in the next film).
That'll do it for part one! Would you see this movie? I hope so. I'll be back tomorrow for part two, focusing on the second film of the proposed trilogy. Till then, you know what's coming.