Who's going to be monitoring Sam Raimi's Warcraft film

Now that news has broken that Sam Raimi will direct a movie based on the MMORPG World of Warcraft, executives at Blizzard tell SCI FI Wire that they'll keep a close eye on the movie's development.

"Even before we signed with Legendary in the last couple of years, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we were going to do a movie and how we would be able to maintain the level of involvement that was important to us, because if you don't have enough involvement, ... there's no guarantee that the production company that's making your movie is going to appropriately honor your intellectual property," Blizzard vice president Frank Pearce said in an exclusive interview at Blizzcon last week. "And our intellectual property is our lifeblood."

I asked him what he, and Blizzard as a whole, would like to see in the story. "That's really going to be something that Sam and whatever screenwriter we choose decide," Pearce said. "For me, telling a story in two to three hours is going to be different from the books that we have or the story in the game. It's a big universe, and we can tell almost any story we want. ... I would personally like to see some cool character development for some of the really important figures in the game. I always look at the Warcraft universe, and there's good and evil and there's right and wrong. I love how the Warcraft universe really sort of borders that between the Alliance and the Horde. Depending on how you look at things, who's good and who's bad, it's gray. And that's cool."

Blizzard chief executive Michael Morhaime said that the topic of a WoW movie came up with Raimi at last year's Blizzcon (the filmmaker plays World of Warcraft with his son and his buddies and was at the convention). "While we were talking to him, the topic of the Warcraft movie came up," Morhaime said. "And he expressed interest in talking about it some more. ... We were struck by his passion for the Warcraft universe."

Morhaime added, "Between Sam's incredible talent, the support of Legendary Pictures and the involvement of Dark Knight producer Chuck Roven, we are confident the movie is in the best possible hands."

Morhaime even addressed an Internet suggestion about what Raimi's direction might mean for a certain famous WoW YouTube character. "This doesn't mean that Bruce Campbell will be playing Leeroy Jenkins," he said. "But now that I think about it, that's not a bad idea."

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