Crank series turn their attentions to human video games and real-life Second Life in Gamer. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor talk about their controller fantasies and the top secret sequel they can’t talk about.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for Gamer?
MN: We were looking at all these reality shows on TV, and of course we were going to cage-fighting matches, and we kind of came up with this stupid idea of a world where it was like a live human video game. Not like Tron where you’re stuck inside a game, but where you could control humans on a massive scale. So we just started there and decided to create “Slayers,” and also “Society,” which is basically like Second Life put back in the real world.
Q: Did you take any inspiration from movies like Rollerball?
BT: Although the idea of inmates competing for their lives has more to do with Running Man than Rollerball, the original Rollerball for us was aesthetically the biggest influence. It’s such an aesthetically perfect movie, and the way that it feels with the one man who’s the one piece of human flesh that’s jamming the gears of this entire machine. Running Man, actually there’s an Easter egg in Gamer for Running Man fans: One of Arnold’s incredible costumes from the movie can be seen on one of the people in Society.
Q: Did you spend a lot of time doing “research” on Second Life?
MN: I created a character on there, and I did my best to try to figure it out for a couple weeks. I goofed around, ended up in the weirdest conversations with people. It was just interesting how many people spend so much time on there and truly want to be somebody else.
BT: In real life you walk up to somebody and you’re concerned about what you say. But when there’s no rules and no accountability, people will just say anything. Pretty quickly, all the veneer of polite society falls away and you’re just in no man’s land. If it’s just virtual, it’s interesting but it’s clean. The big leap for us was taking it to a level where how into it people would be when it’s messy.
Q: You’ve tried adapting Grand Theft Auto. You also worked on Jonah Hex before backing out. What draws you away from adaptations?
MN: We wrote Jonah Hex and we had a blast with it. And I read the final shooting script and felt like there was about 85 percent of our script, and that was pretty cool. Some of the things that we lost, unfortunately, worked: some of the dialogue, and some bits. They went PG-13 instead of R; probably the best thing to do, I guess, for a movie that doesn’t have a big audience.
BT: We’ve made a hard and fast rule never to touch remakes or sequels. There is one exception, which I’m not going to tell you here because it’s Top Secret and we may be getting closer to making it a reality. If you heard the title, you’d get it right away. You’d go, “Yeah actually, those are exactly the guys who should make that movie.”
MN: We’re going back to doing something off in our own little world again. It’s a Lethal Weapon meets Rush Hour. It’s probably one of the more mainstream things we will have ever written. It’s hard-hitting action, but it’s a pretty damn funny comedy too. We’re on page 92, and who knows — maybe we’ll even do it PG-13.
Q: Do you ever get ideas that are too over-the-top, even for you?
MN: We have to censor ourselves and temper ourselves sometimes because we can go into outer space. We can be on Mars. Now, we don’t feel that way with the Crank movies. Crank movies, we actually go to outer space. We live in that world and we have fun with it, and it’s the only way we want to do those movies.
BT: It’s funny the kinds of things that limit the release of a movie. It could be the amount of F-bombs you drop. It’s all a matter of perspective. The important thing is to be true to what it is. Crank: High Voltage is never going to be a broad movie. It has to be something that half the people are going to walk out of the theater in disgust.
Q: In the world of Gamer, would you rather be the player, or the playee?
MN: I think I’d want to be controlled. I think that would be the fun part: Just seeing what somebody else’s mind has to say. Because I’ve seen enough of what my mind has to say. [Laughs].
BT: I think I’d rather be in the game. Especially if it’s like in the movie where you’re like, “Hey it’s not really me doing it, I’m being controlled.” I also think being the controller would be fun.
Q: What would you do?
BT: How many people are watching?Read More