Borderlands Movie Could Face Another Delay As Writer Leaves

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Borderlands Movie Could Face Another Delay As Writer Leaves

Things are going from bad to worse for the Borderlands movie, or perhaps more accurately, from ‘oh, I forgot about that’ to ‘wait, that doesn’t sound good’. Recently, it was the news that Craig Mazin, writer of Chernobyl and The Last of Us, has taken his name off the project and will now go by a pseudonym.



Obviously, this is not good news, but I also think it’s being slightly overblown. Mazin is credited as a writer on Scary Movies 3 and 4, as well as Superhero Movie, but that doesn’t mean Borderlands is worse. Very little could be worse than Superhero Movie. When Mazin wrote those movies he was an up and coming writer who wanted to get his name out there, and he did a good enough job to get three paycheques out of the gig. With Chernobyl and TLOU behind him, he doesn’t need to worry about that.

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But he has not just quietly left the project, he has used a pseudonym, which feels like a public move. It feels like a way to creatively distance himself, as if to signpost that the current version of the movie does not represent him. Considering the movie has been in post-production hell for two years and has had ten writers involved over its lifetime, including the infamously rewrite-heavy Sam Levinson, it’s no surprise Mazin feels like the movie is no longer ‘his’.

Even the direction of the movie is unclear – Eli Roth shot it originally, but Tim Miller (of Deadpool fame), then oversaw two weeks worth of reshoots two years after the movie had wrapped following unfavourable test screenings. Roth had scheduling issues but did give Miller his blessing, although he was entirely not involved in these new shoots. So we have, bluntly, a bad (or at least poorly tested) movie made by Roth and Mazin, then rewritten by six writers and reshot by a new director, and now the original writer wants his name off it.

This movie was originally, all the way back in 2015, supposed to have been written by Leigh Whannel, the writer of Saw and Insidious, and writer/director of Upgrade and The Invisible Man. In that reality I imagine James Wan directs and it comes in on time, under budget, is a smash hit, and we are currently waiting for Borderlands 4 in cinemas this September. What a lovely world that is. Scalebound won GOTY too.

haley bennett in swallow

It’s hard for me not to think about Haley Bennett in this. Bennett will be playing an original character in Borderlands (if it ever comes out) and I’ve written before about why I feel she’s important to the project. She’s also one of my favourite working actors, which might seem odd when so few have even heard of her. She’s mostly known for her roles in Cyrano, Hardcore Henry, or as the only one in Hillbilly Elegy who didn’t embarrass herself with an overly melodramatic turn, but those who have followed her career instead know her best for her bad luck.

Bennett made her breakout in the romcom 2007’s Music & Lyrics, where the stage was set for her to become the next big thing. A few months later, Jennifer Lawrence arrived with her Oscar-nominated turn in Winter’s Bone. Why does that matter? Back then, Bennett and Lawrence looked near-identical. Overnight, Bennett went from a fresh new star to a J-Law knock-off through no fault of her own. She then carved out a new identity with independent roles, only for her best performance (and in my mind one of the most interesting movies of the decade) to go unnoticed as Swallow released right as the pandemic and lockdown hit.

Dukino's Mom in Borderlands 2

The next stop in the Bennett Bad Luck Express is Magazine Dreams, an upcoming drama about the loneliness in professional body-building for which Bennett has already won acclaim for her performance. The movie’s Oscar campaign and even its release later this year is now in jeopardy thanks to the domestic abuse allegations regarding its star Jonathan Majors. Bennett cannot catch a break, and neither can Borderlands.

There are much bigger names in Borderlands – Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart all star – but that only makes it stranger that the movie has stalled this much. Post-screening reshoots to that extent, with no footage released aside from a black and white photo and a single minute shown behind closed doors, are bad news. Blockbusters have had a string of out of control flops recently, and it feels like Borderlands could be next in line beside The Flash, Fast X, and Indiana Jones.

Despite all of this, I find myself hopeful. I still love the Borderlands games despite knowing deep down that they’re shallow, childish, and annoying, and there are too many names here that I find too interesting to overlook. Borderlands could be in cinemas for Christmas, or we might not see it until 2025. It may be for the wrong reasons, but everything I hear about Borderlands just makes me want it more.

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