James Wan is currently in Australia and England shooting DC Extended Universe outing Aquaman, but another adaptation on his plate is the live-action reboot of Mortal Kombat. Wan was announced as the producer on the movie in August 2015, with Simon McQuoid in talks to direct. Not a lot has been said on the movie since then, but we spoke with someone who knows a lot about the previous movies for his take on the project.
John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) was the director of photography on Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 Mortal Kombat, and was promoted to the director’s chair at the behest of producer Lawrence Kasanoff for the sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Leonetti has an incredible back catalogue of films in various genres, but has recently been working as director of photography on James Wan movies Insidious and The Conjuring, which led to him getting the director’s seat on spin-off Annabelle.
“We haven’t talked in a while, but we have talked about this,” Leonetti said of his relationship with Wan. “I think video games are huge, and [the reboot was] inevitable. I just hope this time – and I know he will – that James will put a different slant on it. I think he’ll make it really fun. I doubt I’ll have anything to do with it.”
You can read our full interview with John R. Leonetti about his new movie Wish Upon here.
In the book Lights, Camera, GAME OVER!: How Video Game Movies Get Made [which is available now], Anderson and Kasanoff spoke about how Leonetti didn’t have a great time directing Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and the production was very tough. While Mortal Kombat earned $114 million, the sequel made just $51 million worldwide. In the book, Kasanoff revealed the film was released unfinished. “I’m telling you the effects in that movie are not the final effects.” Kasanoff admits. “I never anticipated that someone would take the movie and go, ‘it’s good enough’. We weren’t done. We never finished that movie. But the studio said, ‘we don’t care’. We sacrificed quality for business.”
Mortal Kombat currently has no release date.