Monster movies are rarely high-concept — they generally involve a monster smashing through city streets, while innocent people run and scream and freak out over the fact that, you know, there’s a monster in the street. The classic 1986 video game Rampage boiled its chosen genre down to its barest essence, having you control one of three titanic beasts (a gorilla, lizard, or werewolf) tasked with destroying urban buildings. Now that it’s destined to become a big-budget Warner Bros. film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, however, the issue is — how do you turn such a paper-thin premise into a gripping feature-length adventure?
According to Brad Peyton (who’s previously directed Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and San Andreas), you craft a saga that’s both scarier and more emotional. Speaking with We Got This Covered (via Collider), Peyton told fans that they’re in for a big surprise when the tentpole film eventually touches down in theaters.
“With Rampage, we are using our love of the original game as our inspiration. Then we’re going to build a movie, like San Andreas, that is really going to surprise people in what it delivers. It’s going to be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier, and a lot more real than you’d expect. So you look at that original concept about a lab that affects these animals and makes them rampage, and that’s the nugget. If they called me tomorrow to do Call of Duty, I wouldn’t want to play any of the Call of Duty games. I’d have to come up with something that deserves to be its own thing. That’s where a lot of these movies can go wrong.
“I’m really excited about Rampage. It’s a monster film, so the stuff that I did on Incarnate, stretching my muscles in the horror space, helped. This ‘small, character piece’ with horror in it trained me to get ready for [Rampage]. Obviously, it’s a much bigger movie and it’s meant for a broader audience, but there are still horror elements, there’s still a monster movie at the core. And I get to work with Dwayne [Johnson] again, I’m so excited about it.”
Peyton also claims that the game’s famous monsters will factor heavily into the action: “There’s the three — the lizard, the ape, and the wolf — so we’re keeping it similar, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out where we’re going with this.” Given video game-based movies’ spotty track record, it remains to be seen if Peyton’s approach will work out — and whether, in the end, something like Rampage can be transformed into an “emotional” experience. At least Peyton still has time to figure out the ins and outs of his adaptation, since no official production start date has yet been announced.
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