At San Diego Comic Con Lionsgate Pictures, let a group of us ask questions to co-creators, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor about their upcoming film, Gamer. Based on what we covered, the film promises to be a wild ride based on the worst case scenario of video games. The question of what would games be like if gamers can control actual people?
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are known for fast action from their prior Crank films. Gamer will be no different. Mark and Taylor discussed how they enjoyed using the RED camera because it allowed them to be mobile to catch the shot. Sometimes they were rollerblading while filming to catch the action fast enough. Gamer will be the first full length movie to use the RED camera which is kindof a geeky treat. The camera is light and easy to transport. Mark also spoke about how easy it was to download the footage so the editor could get started as they continued to shoot.
The story of Gamer is that billionaire Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) creates a first-person shooter game called “Slayers”. Players can act out their fantasies online while a global audience watches using real people as avatars. Only in Slayers, the avatars have to fight for their life. Kable (Gerard Butler) is the star of Slayers. Kable is controlled by Simon and may actually survive long enough to escape the game. The other part of Gamer is the virtual world, “Society”. Society is a fetish social-networking site. Mark tells us that people can volunteer to be in Society because they earn money that way.
Most of the action you will see during the movie is real. Both Mark and Brian said there isn’t alot of green screen in this movie. They feel the story is about “real people being controlled in real environments” so there was no need to use a green screen. Mark added that he really enjoys “blowing sh** up.” Actor Terry Crews (who has the largest muscles I’ve ever seen) said that his theory is to give people what they want and he’ll basically do anything to do that. Terry did all of his stunts. He felt that the entire crew including the directors were giving it everything they have so he had to as well.
However not everything about Gamer is good. Hardcore gamers may have a right to be worried because Gamer seems to be riddled with gamer stereotypes. The movie is basically the worst case scenario of video games in their mind.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges heads the “Humanz” organization and says about the role, “I took on the role because I play the voice of reason in the story,” explains Bridges, who is an avid gamer himself. “It seems like video games get more and more interactive, and it’s just crazy to sit here and think how games will evolve over the next decade. If you allow evolution like this to continue where you’re toying around with human beings, it can become something very dangerous. But I think this movie is all about how much influence each individual has on the future and how we can make things change for the good and not the bad.”
But when asked about their gaming experience both Mark and Brian said the last game they played was Donkey Kong and Frogger. I asked if they interviewed pro-gamers or spoke with any game studios. They both laughed and joked that they basically asked 16 year olds. Having never played a shooter or been in a virtual world it is difficult to see how they know how these things would play out even in a futuristic world. Unless you are going to rely on gamer stereotypes.
When asked if there might be a game made from the movie Mark and Brian said, “It could happen down the road to turn the movie into a game.” But both of them don’t want to be involved at that point.
From the roundtable interview, Gamer sounds like it will be a fast-paced action film which is something fans of Mark and Brian have come to expect.