The makers of Minecraft have unearthed a pretty good morsel of movie news. Rob McElhenney, best known for co-creating and co-starring in the long-running FX/FXX series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, has just been selected to direct the Minecraft movie that Warner Bros is developing. We’ll tell you more shortly but wanted to get this one up fast. It first saw the light of day on mojang.com.
Still chasing this deal, but since the first reaction to Rob McElhenney getting this massive movie directing job will be surprise, here’s some context. He’s the same guy who, armed with a four-minute test reel and a passionate 20-minute pitch, closed a deal at Legendary Pictures to make his feature directorial and screenwriting debut on his family action pitch Figment, with McElhenney tied to write the script and direct the film, and produce it. That one is a family action adventure about an imaginative boy and his family who are thrown for a loop when their greatest fears come to life. The deal was made in late 2014, with Legendary producing with 3 Arts’ Nicholas Frenkel and McElhenney.
McElhenney was a struggling actor who was fed up with auditions when he and Glenn Howerton gathered Charlie Day and their cohorts and went out and shot episodes for the raucous sitcom idea It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Based on what they shot, they sold the show to FX after pitching seven networks. He made the deal at Legendary with his four minute amalgamation of two scenes from his film. McElhenney is repped by 3 Arts,WME and attorney David Weber.
Warner Bros acquired Minecraft on the heels of the studio’s success with The LEGO Movie. The game was created by Swedish indie developer Mojang AB (mojang means “gadget” in Swedish), and the film is being produced by LEGO Movie producer Roy Lee through his Vertigo banner along with Jill Messick. Minecraft provides a brand name and a blank canvas on which to launch a multiple audience quadrant film franchise. The Xbox version of the game has already sold well over 10 million copies. In the actual game, players create their own avatar and are dropped into a blank world filled with nocturnal monsters. Players use cubes to create, build, and destroy structures and other forms across multiple game modes and various players.