A good interview, from the filmmakers’ point of view, is one
where the press walks away more interested in the project than when they came
in. While I’m not planning to be first in line for the videogame adaptation Max
Payne when it opens in October, I’m definitely curious. Part of that
comes from the charisma of Mark Wahlberg and director John Moore, who at least
talk a good game when it comes to this crime saga.
Poor Ludacris and Mila Kunis, though. They were in on this
mini press conference, too, and it was probably the one venue in the world
where someone like Luda would be almost completely ignored. One question was
addressed to him, and there was even crosstalk over the answer, which is why
you don’t see it represented below. I just couldn’t make out the answer.
But in general, this was a noisy room, with a lot of booming
coming up from the panel below and talk from the Day the Earth Stood Still
mini press conference going on fifteen feet away. So there are stretches of
conversation just buried on my recorder. Among them are a few lines about Entourage, and Wahlberg talking about
how he laughed about the idea of a real Aquaman movie with peter Jackson and
James Cameron. “Aquaman is not happening. Not with me. Maybe with Emil
Hirsch or something.”
Gems like that aside, however, I’m presenting this to you
because I took the time to be there, so I feel like I should follow through. I
was stuck in the back, and saved my voice for when I was finally able to ask
about The Fighter…
The game is cinematic
and inspired by movies, how do you turn that around and make a movie…
(John Moore) I’ll try that one. It’s…kinda obvious. Because
it is so cinematic, it seems that it was fairly requesting to be reinterpreted
on the big screen. It’s not because …you don’t sense that there’s resistance
within that format. So I thought that it would look cool on the big screen.
That’s what made this adaptation, I wouldn’t say ‘easy’, but made it flow.
(Mark Wahlberg) Well, when I read the script, I was like,
wow, this is awesome. Where did that come from? I was told it was based on a
video game and I said, aw fuck no, I don’t want to do that! And then I started
doing a little research and when I finally saw the game I realized the story is
really elaborate, there’s a lot going on there. I was surprised that it hadn’t
been filmed already.
Did you play the
(MW) No, but my assistant is a gamer, so I let him play the
whole thing, which he did every day from the start of production to the day of
wrap. I didn’t want to play because I have an addictive personality. I didn’t
want to be…I have more responsibility now than I ever have, with kids and
everything, so I didn’t want to be spending 14 hours on a video game after 8
hours on the set.
How do you make a
two-dimensional character three-dimensional?
(MW) With the help of this man. (Gestures to Moore.) You
know, we always talk about…I’ve done characters that showed glimpses of what I
hoped to accomplish in this movie. Fear, The Departed and Four
Brothers, but I wanted to take this to a whole other place and thankfully
John was also in the head space of doing something that really was layered.
I’ve already done the ‘guy of few words’ which can be one-note, and that’s it.
I really wanted to push out.
(JM) It’s true. There’s no point in just being flatline cool
through the whole movie. That’s going to get old quick. And for a movie with a
story based on a man losing his wife and child, for him to not show a range of
emotion for the character would have been the wrong choice. Mark goes to places
in the movie that are quite extreme.
Mark, was this a tough
character to play?
(MW) Yes and no. After doing The Lovely Bones, which
was also dealing with loss and a horrific act of violence, then being able to
do something about it was so nice. I remember The Happening had just come
out and I walked into the editing room at the looping stage with John. He
showed me some shit and I was just fucking screaming with excitement. I was so
happy…my career was saved, my ability to walk down the street was restored, I
was like YEAH! I was screaming at the top of my lungs for like five fucking
minutes. But also, this is the type of thing that I want to go see. I don’t
want to be told what I can and can’t do, I want to try something different, I
want to be able to play a lawyer, a doctor, but I feel most comfortable when
I’m in a role like this.
Is it harder to pick
popcorn movies after your Oscar nomination?
(MW) No, because I never expected to get the nomination, and
you don’t do it for that anyway. If you start doing that, you’d see me in some
fuckin’ crazy English period piece. (mad laughter) And I would like to do that,
too! If someone gave me a chance. (Mila laughing wildly) OK, now that’s all I’m
gonna fuckin’ do. That was the same shit I heard when I told people I’m not
going to pull my pants down anymore, I’m only going to be a serious actor. They
all chuckled and laughed.
(Mila Kunis) I wasn’t laughing at you!
(MW) And now here I am, at fuckin’ Comic Con…but you know, I
always try to do something different but this is really the thing that is most
satisfying to me, and to people like myself. Guys want so see some guys kick
some fuckin’ ass.
Mila, tell us about
(MK) I play an assassin, her name’s Mona Sax. My sister gets
murdered and I blame Mark’s character for the murder…
(MW) Yeah, she thinks I had sex with her and did all this
(MK) So he shtupped my sister –
(MW) – I didn’t.
(MK) And I go to find him and fuck him up, then I realize
that we’re looking for the same bad guy and we team up.
John, why does the
film diverge from the game?
(JM) Diverge seems like a slightly negative term. What I’d
like to think is that it moves things forward. I like to think of it as your
favorite restaurant with a great, exciting new dish on the menu. I can’t be
respectful enough towards the game. It’s got great action, but it’s a great
story. I just moved it forward.
What sort of visual effects will we see in the finished
(JM) Real stuff. I’m bored shitless with CG. I think
everyone is bored fucking shitless with it.
(MW) I loved that immediately after we shot the film there
was already a trailer, because we’re not waiting for effects stuff to be done.
(JM) Exactly. It’s physical sets, physical action. The fight
scenes and gunplay, it’s all very real. I’m not reinventing the fucking wheel
here; big fucking deal, the guy doesn’t want to use CGI. What I’m saying,
though, is that in a movie that’s about a central character whose name is his
emotion, you don’t want to come out saying ‘wow, the effects were cool, man.’
Fuck that, let’s load another clip and blow his fucking head off. That’s where
this movie is at; it’s not an effects movie.
At the same time, in
the trailer we see the floating Valkyries; how much supernatural stuff will we
(JM) Sprinkled in. It’s subtle. Those who know the genesis
of the game know that it’s the result of a hallucination. But again, we had
actors in full body makeup with prosthetics. I just don’t trust CGI.
Mark, you joke about The Happening, but are you proud of the
(MW) It was amazing to work with Night, and it was great for
me to get to do a different kind of character. I feel so bad for him, because
every time there was a review, the first two paragraphs are the people chopping
him up. And these are major publications; if you’re lucky, they actually end up
reviewing the movie.
I didn’t know the kind of baggage that he had but I know
he’s a great talent. He’s mindful of the mistakes he’s made, like a true champion
you take it on the chin and move on and maybe do things a little bit
differently, but I am proud of it.
Any time you get to do something different, any time I’m not
in a fucking jail cell I’m very happy, and I’m very loyal to the people I work
with. The one thing I couldn’t understand is he kept telling me ‘you know,
after this movie you never need to hold a gun again! Don’t do it! Just do
movies like this!’ And I’d say ‘motherfucker, are you crazy?’ I said, ‘this is
what I do! This is why you want to work with me in the first place. I’m glad
you want me to do something different in your film, but I can’t not have a gun!’
Word is you’re not a
big fan of your Planet of the Apes
remake. Is that true?
(MW) No, I wish…I loved working with Tim Burton. If Tim said
‘hey, I figured out a way to do Planet of the Apes the right way
this time, let’s do it again’ and he said ‘I want to do it with no dialogue and
black and white’ [ed: which I assume MW thinks is another wrong way to do it] I’d
say fuck it, let’s do it, because I loved working with Tim, I think he’s one of
the real unique visionaries out there. But it wasn’t like I had something I
could really identify with or connect to on a personal level, like this. Even
with the demons and all those things [in Max Payne] I didn’t have to focus on
that stuff. I feel like, if I can’t believe, how can I convince an audience?
With this, my character, I never buy into the whole demon thing, I think
they’re just whacked out and crazy. And obviously I have to take the drug in
order to survive and I experience it myself.
So you have to ground
your characters in reality.
(MW) Yes. And I have to have some sort of way to connect with
them or I don’ really feel like I can do it with complete confidence.
What can you say
about The Fighter right now?
(MW) That I’ve been training for almost two years now for
nothing. It probably won’t happen. But
I’ll still keep going until they say it’s not going to happen. It’s just one of
those things; it’s a dream role and to be ready I have to just continue on
until they say it’s not going to happen.
Why do you think it’s
not going to happen?
(MW)Well, I don’t know. I tried to do two other boxing movies
and trained like I was fighting for the world title; they fell apart, so it’s
not meant to be. But they really want to make it happen, so…you have to hope
it’ll happen and be ready when it does.
[As Walhberg was walking away he emphatically said that the
movie is not dead; it’s just not happening now, or soon.]
What can you tell us
about Peter Jackson and The Lovely Bones?
(MW) That I hope it’s really good. That I hope I don’t have to
come here and lie. A movie like this, I don’t necessarily feel cocky, but I
feel confident in the material. When you have a good movie, if feels good. You
don’t have to lie. If you’re lucky enough to have five good ones every fifteen,
twenty movies you make, you’ve got a good body of work there.