Who says video game movies never live up to the hype? It’s not a hard rule. Will Speck and Josh Gordon are stepping up to the plate to adapt The Oregon Trail. Somehow, it seems like video game adaptations are treated as sacred. You have to really care about the source material, otherwise, rabid fans aren’t going to be happy. The Oregon Trail does hold a special place in the hearts of many kids of the ’80s and ’90s. But it’s a weird game overall.
The Oregon Trail wasn’t really something many people went out of their way to play because it was their first choice. They played it in school, usually. It simulates the westward expansion of American pioneers, many of whom took the Oregon trail to reach their destination. Along the way, they died of dysentery, starvation, thirst, or even something as small as an infected cut.
With how absurd the premise is, it could make for a delightful dark comedy. Not only that, but Speck and Gordon are taking it one step further, by also adapting the game as a musical. They have some experience with this whole thing; their latest movie, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, is a musical as well. Collider recently spoke with the pair, where they really dug into where this idea came from.
“It always had this dark band of humor running through it, because your chances of dying from everything from dysentery to a cut to anything was … basically, every move you ended up dying. For us, that’s returning a little bit to our roots in comedy, marrying it with the fun of doing a big musical, and also just the ambition of taking that very seriously as well and making a big historical westward expansion epic that’s also about dying from dysentery.”
They also explained a little bit about how they actually went about getting the rights. They said:
Well, it’s owned by a publishing company, and we had to do what we often have to do, and what we had to do for Lyle, which is to give them a sense on multiple phone calls and Zooms of what our intentions are and how exploitive we want to be and how truthful we want to be to the original material and what it’s going to look and feel like. People are very protective of their IP as they should be.
As of now, there’s no specific release date for The Oregon Trail, but Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile hits theaters on October 7.
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