Anthony Mackie to star in TV adaptation of classic PlayStation game

Twisted Metal
(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Anthony Mackie has signed on to lead a TV adaptation of the classic PlayStation video game series, Twisted Metal.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star will also serve as executive producer on the series, which is being co-developed by Sony Pictures TV and PlayStation Production. As per THR, the show will be pitched to potential buyers in the near future.

In the games, Twisted Metal is essentially a demolition derby that encourages players to use ballistic projectiles, machine guns, mines and other types of weapons to defeat their opponents in vehicular combat. 

The first Twisted Metal title launched on the original PlayStation back in 1995, and was followed by eight more mainline games spanning the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 until 2012.

Mackie will play John Doe in the TV adaptation, a milkman with no memory of his past tasked with delivering a mysterious package (not milk, presumably) across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mad Max-style. 

Cobra Kai writer Michael Jonathan Smith will pen the script, while also executive producing alongside Mackie and Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Given the latter’s involvement – coupled with the game series’ tongue-in-cheek subject matter – we’d anticipate a TV show bearing tonal similarities to the movies featuring the Merc With A Mouth. 

Analysis: a more forgiving creative climate 

A few years ago, this news might have had our heads in our hands. After all, video game adaptations have been notoriously uninspired throughout the years (looking at you, Hitman).

But recent history has seen the tide change on live-action takes on beloved digital IP. To everyone’s surprise, 2019’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu was actually pretty great, and this year’s Mortal Kombat, too, was a massive hit on HBO Max.

Then there’s the popularity of Netflix’s The Witcher series – which itself spawned an anime spin-off and upcoming prequel series – and the in-development Borderlands movie and The Last of Us TV show.

The point being, in today’s creative climate, video game adaptations aren’t the taboo subject they once were, and there’s every chance that Twisted Metal may actually be a well-made, entertaining ride.

Of course, it’s likely that we’ll have to wait a while until it hits screens, and we still don’t know whether it’ll land on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max or another major streamer. 

In the meantime, though, we’ll boot up the original PlayStation and take Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck for a spin.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.