For years, Hollywood has tried and failed to make a good videogame movie. For years, moviegoers have suffered the parade of bad Prince of Persias and worse Tomb Raiders, while shruggingly accepting the excruciatingly passable Resident Evil franchise as a best-of-the-worst consolation prize. Now, perhaps, a new hope: Swedish videogame company Mojang has found an intriguing new director for their Minecraft movie. The company officially announced on their website that the as-yet-untitled movie will be directed by Rob McElhenney, best known Mac on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
McElhenney created Sunny and co-writes alongside longtime collaborators Glenn Howertown and Charlie Day. Sunny just finished its 10th season and still has at least two more years to go on FXX. But McElhenney has been moving towards his second act recently: Last year he signed with Legendary to write and direct the fantasy film Figment.
It’s unclear precisely what the Minecraft movie will look like. Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy was attached at one point and compared his take on the material to The Goonies—but he parted ways with the project specifically because the studio didn’t dig that idea. Apropos of his decade on Sunny, one assumes that McElhenney’s take on the material is more farcical, maybe?
You could loosely describe Minecraft as a fantasy game, although it’s best understood as a semi-abstract digital laboratory where you build things with blocks. “This is a pretty strange idea for a movie” is what you would be thinking, if you didn’t love The LEGO Movie so much. But you did, so: Optimism! LEGO Movie producer Roy Lee is attached to Minecraft, and the film is in development at LEGO studio Warner Bros., so presumably it will be the same, but different. Like, maybe with Emma Stone’s voice instead of Chris Pratt’s voice, and blocks instead of bricks. And by the time Minecraft comes out everything will be different, and we’ll be making Suicide Squad jokes instead of Batman jokes, and everyone will laugh so hard when Minecraft does a Newt Scamander joke.
McElhenney himself offered a vague description of his Minecraft movie which seems to clear everything up.
Hey @Mojang let’s do something strange and wonderful.
— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) July 21, 2015