The BBC's documentary about Grand Theft Auto, RockStar Games and — to some degree — Jack Thompson is in post-production after a relatively quick shoot in Cape Town, South Africa.
We came across a few shots from the set on Twitter and a bit more information about who will be portrayed in the TV movie in the cast list.
In April, the BBC confirmed that the "factual drama," entitled Game Changer, would star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser and Bill Paxton as anti-gaming zealot Jack Thompson.
Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama tells the story of the controversy surrounding the computer game Grand Theft Auto — arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park.
Its triumph was down to a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days, and at the heart of it all was GTA's creative mastermind, Sam Houser. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration — GTA:V — earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.
Grand Theft Auto offers gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they can behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American underworld.
But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding commercial success leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values they say it encourages; and above all from moral campaigners, who fight passionately to keep it out of the hands of children. At the vanguard of this crusade is the formidable campaigning lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of Grand Theft Auto.
Game Changer (w/t) tells the story of an extraordinary chapter in the history of this iconic game, and reveals the major impact it has had on our cultural landscape.
According to IMDB, along with Thompson and both Houser brothers, other people portrayed in the show will include the at-the-time head of the Entertainment Software Association Doug Lowenstein, Jack Thompson's son Johnny Thompson and Rockstar co-founder Terry Donovan,
It looks like the show may deal quite a bit with the 2003 Devin Moore murders of three Alabama policemen and the ensuing trial. In that case, Moore killed two police and a dispatcher after being arrested for stealing a car. Just prior to the police station shootings, according to the Associated Press, Moore grabbed a gun and said "Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime."
The family of slain officer Arnold Strickland, including his brother Steve, filed a suit against Sony with the help of Jack Thompson. Thompson's license to practice in Alabama was later revoked by Judge James Moore.
Actors are listed for Devin Moore, Arnold and Steve Strickland and Judge Moore. There's also a listing for an actor to portray "Hillary Clinton's PA." Clinton was, at one time, an outspoken opponent of video games and the ESRB rating system.
Most of the shots from the set simply show Radcliffe and Paxton hanging out. But one does show a protestor's sign featuring Radcliffe's head with devil's horns on it and the words "Game Over" emblazoned across his face.
It's unclear how much the show will delve into Thompson's rocky, some would say unstable, relationship with both the media and the legal system. Over the years, Thompson has verbally attacked and slandered a number of high-profile judges and attorneys. He also often sent threatening or confusing letters to those in the media that covered him.
In 2007, after I wrote an analysis of some of the typical faulty evidence Thompson often rolled out during television appearances about school shootings, Thompson sued both me and Kotaku, the site I was running at the time. He also tried to file criminal complaints against me for harassment with local police in several jurisdictions and the FBI.
All of those complaints and the suit were later dropped.