Connect with gaming and metaverse leaders online at GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3 this February 1-2. Register here.

Grand Theft Auto is getting its own film, but it’s not a work of fiction.

The BBC today announced that it’s making a factual drama based on the iconic open-world action game Grand Theft Auto, which was first released on PlayStation and PC back in 1997. Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe and Apollo 13 star Bill Paxton are heading the cast, on opposite sides of the story. It’s a sign of how ingrained video games are in popular culture that two Hollywood stars are teaming up with the world’s oldest national broadcasting organization to dramatize a development story — one that eventually led to the biggest entertainment launch in history, when Grand Theft Auto sequel GTA V made $1 billion in its first three days in September 2013.

The film’s working title is Game Changer, and the BBC says it 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.”

Grand Theft Auto made media headlines back in the ’90s for its violent content, and Paxton plays campaigning lawyer Jack Thompson, who wanted the game banned. Meanwhile, Radcliffe plays Sam Houser, the cofounder of developer Rockstar Games.


GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3

Join the GamesBeat community online, February 1-2, to examine the findings and emerging trends within the metaverse.

Register Here

“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 [the World War II code-breaking center] Bletchley Park.”

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.