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Margot Robbie’s production company is making a movie based on The Sims

The Sims doesn’t have a plot, or any kind of story really, beyond what the player makes up for it. It’s a “life simulation” sandbox game in which “sims” live out their day-to-day lives, furnishing houses, establishing relationships, pursuing careers, maybe dying in swimming pools, all under the control of the player and with no particular narrative direction. And somehow, it’s being made into a movie.

Word of The Sims flick comes by way of The Hollywood Reporter, and it’s got some big names attached. It’s being produced by LuckyChap, the production company co-founded by Margot Robbie, along with Vertigo Entertainment, and the script is being co-written by Kate Herron, who directed the first season of the Disney+ series Loki.

And yes, Electronic Arts is involved in the project as well, “in a creative and producing capacity,” whatever that means. There’s no word on whether series creator Will Wright will play any role but, somehow, I doubt it.

It’s an odd pick for a big-screen adaptation, although I suppose the complete open-endedness of the game does afford the creators a degree of flexibility they wouldn’t have if they were making a movie based on, say, Dead Space or Battlefield. And film adaptations of no-plot games aren’t unprecedented: Battleship, for instance, got turned into a blockbuster flick in 2012. And yes, it sucked, and it lost a whole pile of money, but hey, you don’t know if you don’t try, right?

(I suppose in some cases you could probably figure it out before blowing $200 million on “trying,” but I’m not a big Hollywood studio executive so what do I know?)

Colleague Rich Stanton also reminded me of this mess, which somehow managed to be a commercial success:

Anyway, all that aside, there is precedent for success with a project like this: Robbie and LuckyChap’s previous project was Barbie, based on a property that’s about as story-free as it gets, and it made many, many truckloads of cash and earned eight Academy Award nominations. So, there you have it: You don’t know if you don’t try. (Sometimes.)

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