Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton will star in the forthcoming Grand Theft Auto docudrama "Game Changer", on either side of the controversy over violent video games, the BBC has confirmed.
"Harry Potter" star Radcliffe plays Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser, who with his brother Dan has been a producer of the carjacking games since its earliest sequels. "Aliens", "Apollo 13" and " Agents of SHIELD" star Paxton will play an outspoken campaigner against gory games. The drama will be screened on BBC Two in the UK later this year.
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Announcing details of the drama, the BBC describes Grand Theft Auto as "arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park", referring to the codebreaking facility where Alan Turing helped to win the Second World War.
The first Grand Theft Auto game was released for the PlayStation and PC in 1997 by DMA Design, a gaming studio founded in Scotland. DMA later became a part of multinational game company Rockstar, and the original game was followed by assorted GTA sequels, including Vice City, San Andreas and Liberty City Stories.
The series culminated in the most recent release, 2013's Grand Theft Auto V , which made $1 billion in three days and is the best-selling entertainment product ever.
The 90-minute behind-the-scenes BBC drama tells the story of the controversy surrounding the smash-hit series, which allow you to play a criminal and reward you for sketchy behaviour as you mow down pedestrians, steal whatever you fancy and attack rival gangsters, cops and passersby.
Outraged parents, politicians and campaigners have protested against the game's adult content since its inception. A leading figure in that campaign was Florida lawyer Jack Thompson, who will be played by Paxton in the drama. Thompson, who was disbarred in 2008, has campaigned against games including Bully, Manhunt and Mortal Kombat.
Thompson turned his attention to Grand Theft Auto in 2003 while defending a plaintiff who played the game and was accused of murder. That same year he filed suit against the publishers of Grand Theft Auto III, Take-Two Interactive, along with retailer Wal-Mart and Sony, the company that makes the PlayStation games console.
The outspoken Thompson referred to Sony's gaming enterprise as "Pearl Harbor 2", and in 2008 described Grand Theft Auto IV as "the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio".
"Game Changer" is developed by former CNET and GameSpot editor Guy Cocker. It's written by James Wood, writer of comedies "Rev" and "Ambassadors", and directed by Owen Harris, who previously worked on dramas including "Black Mirror" and "Misfits". Rockstar is not directly involved with the production.