While there was a tremendous amount to be excited about during last year’s Silent Hill Transmission video (which saw announcements for multiple new Silent Hill games and merch), I admit that one of the ones that got me most interested was the reveal of Christoph Gans’s new film, Return to Silent Hill. The not-so-secret project (thanks to Gans just not giving a shit during interviews) was revealed to be an adaption of the beloved Silent Hill 2, and we recently learned that shooting is set to begin “soon”. Well, today we seem to have gotten our first real plot outline, and possible casting for James Sunderland. From the German website Filmportal (translated with Google so there might be some wonkiness):
Driven by the shadows of his past, James Sunderland returns to Silent Hill to find his lost love, Mary Crane. But the dark, depressing small town is no longer the place from his memories. He meets characters who seem all too familiar and who try to divert him from his search for Mary. The longer he searches for Mary, the more he begins to wonder if this is still reality – or if he has fallen into the dark underworld of Jacob Crane.
Fans have already started raising concerns over two pretty blatant changes to the story, although it remains to be seen what exactly they mean. While James has been allowed to remain ‘James Sunderland’, Mary Shepherd Sunderland has seemingly been renamed ‘Mary Crane’. Not the biggest change (and in line with the first film’s changing of Cheryl Mason to Sharron DeSilva), but it leads to the second change: who the hell is Jacob Crane? It’s possible that Filmportal is misconstruing information or straight-up mistranslating something, but it’s hard to imagine a whole name conjuring itself out of thin air like this. The last name, Crane, implies a connection to this new version of Mary — perhaps a brother? A father? There’s just no way of knowing, and even more curious is calling the Otherworld ‘the dark underworld of Jacob Crane’.
Along with this, Filmportal revealed some of the people involved with production, such as cinematographer Benoît Debie (Enter The Void), production designer Felicity Abbott (Upgrade), and editor Sébastian Prangère (who has worked on several Gans films including the original 2006 Silent Hill). The one that I’m sure is most relevant to all of you is Filmportal pegging Jeremy Irvine as the film’s ‘star’, which means he very well could be our James. Irvine is mostly known for his starring role in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, which is no small pedigree, although I’m still a bit surprised by the casting. We’ll see soon enough how he brings our favorite miserable boi to screen.
Despite the apparent changes, I’m remaining optimistic. While the first Silent Hill film deviates quite drastically from the game’s story, it kept one of, what I felt at least, was the most important elements; namely, the tone and visuals. Concept art and storyboards shown off during Return to Silent Hill‘s reveal showcased instantly recognizable moments and characters, from James and Maria to Eddie and a more game-accurate Pyramid Head. Undoubtedly things will change, and seem to already be doing so, but we’ll just have to wait and see to what degree.