Syriana writer-director to helm Ubisoft's The Division film

Stephen Gaghan joins Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain to bring the 2016 hit to life.


Ubisoft Motion Pictures has announced that Stephen Gaghan will write and direct The Division, its big screen adaptation of the Tom Clancy game.

Gaghan is known for writing Traffic, and for writing and directing Syriana. Traffic won an Academy Award, while Syriana was nominated. Gaghan is the third Academy recognized name attached to the project, as Ubisoft had previously confirmed Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain to star. The two were also said to be helping develop the picture through their own production companies.

"The game has been an enormous success, in large part due to the visual landscape they created, their vision of a mid-apocalyptic Manhattan," Gaghan said in a statement. "It’s immersive, wonderfully strange, and yet familiar, filled with possibilities. It’s also remarkable to be able to collaborate with Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal early in the process. We all feel the story Ubisoft created is more relevant than ever."

The Division has the player assume the role of a sleeper agent for the Strategic Homeland Division, activated to help restore order to Manhattan after a super-virus decimates the population and throws society into chaos. It broke sales records for Ubisoft at launch.

Ubisoft has been gathering impressive talent for its motion picture studio, most recently bringing Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in to headline its Assassin's Creed adaptation. That film was panned, though, partly for being too overcomplex with its mythology. As a simpler story more akin to a standard post-apocalypse film, The Division might have a better chance.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 19, 2017 11:40 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Syriana writer-director to helm Ubisoft's The Division film

    • reply
      January 19, 2017 11:46 AM

      I could see The Division making for a good movie.

      That's not to say that it will be a good movie. Game-derived movies have a poor track record. But it has more potential than most.

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        January 19, 2017 12:01 PM

        Yeah. For sure. Actually, I found The Division's narrative to be quite compelling.

        I think a lot of the game's storytelling is told in the environmental design, though. They did such a good job with it.

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          January 19, 2017 12:06 PM

          Agreed, and the central idea that an engineered virus could force entire cities to be quarantined and left to rot due to collapse of external support is frighteningly plausible.

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            January 19, 2017 12:08 PM

            That part is plausible. The citizen soldiers showing up and mowing their way through armed bandits, genocidal flamethrower sweepers, and other weirdly armed groups starts getting a bit silly.

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