Big meets bigger in the new film Rampage, based on the popular video game of the same name released back in 1986. But when it comes to translating games to film it has proven to be no easy task, as Hollywood tries to escape the dreaded video game curse. Hip-Hop Wired and CASSIUS got the opportunity to talk to the film’s stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Walking Dead‘s Jeffery Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris and Malin Akerman, as well as director Brad Peyton on whether the curse worried them while making the film.
In Rampage, Johnson plays Davis Okoye, a badass primatologist who befriends George, an intelligent and very rare albino silverback gorilla whom Okoye raised after he rescued the ape from poachers that killed his parents. Okoye prefers the company of animals over humans, but that soon changes when his friend is affected by a genetic experiment that mutates the once gentle ape into a giant ferocious creature. To save his friend, Okoye teams with a discredited geneticist, Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to find a cure for George and save the world from other altered creatures called Alpha Predators.
The original arcade game that featured three gigantic creatures rampaging across the world destroying buildings really didn’t have much of a storyline at all. That gave Peyton and Johnson— who also served as an executive producer on the film— free reign to play with the movie and add some new details and exciting narratives on top of the nostalgia the game already brings. All in hopes of giving fans a fun movie experience —and at the same time, busting that curse.
The Rock himself is no stranger to it. He jokingly pointed out during a press conference that he was a part of a bad movie based on the iconic first-person shooter Doom. When it came to whether or not he was worried about Rampage, he cautiously but enthusiastically added:
“There is a lot of pressure. You want to make a good movie, but also you want to make sure that the fear you have or the worriedness is not in front of you. That it’s kinda impeding your judgment and your clarity,” Johnson told us. “You gotta step forward with confidence and hope that you make a good one. They don’t all work out the way you want them to, and I don’t want to speak ahead, but it seems like we might not be beholden to the curse.”
Rampage’s director, Brad Peyton tuned out the idea of a curse altogether but pointed out he got nervous when the press asked about it a week before the movie wrapped.
“Honestly, I forgot about the video game curse. I knew about it and when I started talking about doing this movie I kind of went down the rabbit hole of what I would do with it and just kinda got lost in the creative stuff,” Peyton said. “There is a lot more pressure when your video game movies don’t work. But it comes down to the fact this game offered a lot of positive things if you think it about it. The title is awesome, there are three massive creatures. I could easily give you what the game promised and I had this nostalgic factor for people who grew up playing it. There’s also so much creative freedom.”
Rampage marks the third time Johnson and Peyton worked together on a film. Their previous two cinematic endeavors, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and San Andreas both were blockbuster successes. It would be pretty safe to assume that they will continue their fantastic kill streak when it comes to demolishing box office numbers– curse or no curse.
The Rock, can we get that Gamertag so we can challenge you?
Rampage roars into theaters April 13.