Interviews · Movies

Max Payne Shifts Into the Supernatural at Comic-Con

Nothing could stop our Rob Hunter from getting to the interviews for Max Payne, not even a clustered up press event. That said, this movie might actually kick some ass.
By  · Published on July 24th, 2008

Max Payne has a lot to be angry about.  First there was a major delay in 20th Century Fox’s Hall H presentation, quickly followed by a clusterfuck of a press conference (the description of which is to be saved for another posting.)  Oh, and his wife and kid were murdered too.  But back to Comic Con and Fox’s ridiculous press event…

Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, and director John Moore were on hand to discuss the new Max Payne film and I only had one question for them.  What’s the deal with the angels of death in the trailer?  Did they introduce a supernatural element to an established storyline that had none?  Can they share anything about it without spoiling the effect in the film?  Why is Mila avoiding my gaze?  Am I making her nervous?  That looks like five questions, but I mashed most of it all into one when I asked.  (I asked the last two with my eyes only.)  Moore answered that with the following.

“It’s a flavor you don’t see in cop/thriller films… Max’s procedural investigation, he’s basically hunting and hunting and hunting and hunting, being very procedural, going through every dead lead, and then the world just sort of tilts at a kilter.  Everything he thought he was doing takes a very strange turn. The audience starts to doubt what it is they’re seeing.  It resolves itself, but yes, there is a period in the film where the audience resets… in a good way.”

Sounds like an awful lot of hunting before those sweet looking dark angels appear.  But I’m assuming the hunting and dead leads involve an awful lot of action, gun play, and style so I don’t expect to be bored waiting for the wraiths to show up.  Moore films extremely sharp and kinetic action scenes, most notably on display in the underrated Behind Enemy Lines with Owen Wilson.  The action on display in Max Payne looks even more promising.

Asked if they saw making a successful film from a video game represented a challenge, Moore said “the fact is the game is based on a very good story… two, three pages in (to the script) and I knew this was a great story.”  He said what attracted him as well as the cast was that story, and that after reading the script they lost the cynicism surrounding a video game to film adaptation.  Moore also clarified that the film contains story elements from both Max Payne games, but it’s not a strict retelling.

Kunis plays Mona Sax, an assassin whose lost her sister and blames Payne for her death.  Kunis isn’t exactly known for action, but she says the experience was “awesome… I’ve never done anything with action.  I can barely walk without tripping. So coordination and I aren’t best friends.”  To prepare for the role Kunis took firearms training and actually passed the SWAT test for marksmanship.  “I’ve never shot a gun, but now I can take one apart and put it back together.”  Wahlberg remarked that her billy club skills were one of the more dangerous things on-set.

Wahlberg was asked if he has played the games, and the answer was no.  “My assistant is does… I had him playing The Max Payne games eight hours a day while we were shooting.  I’ve got an addictive personality, and too much responsibility now that I have kids to spend fourteen hours a day playing video games.”  He also commented in reference to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, saying how he walked into the editing room for Max Payne, saw some of the footage, and was “fucking excited.  My career is saved!”  I’d say he was exaggerating slightly, but did you see The Happening?

Max Payne opens in theaters this October.

Stay tuned all this week as we bring you coverage from Comic-Con International. Not only will we be roaming the floor in search of love, but we will have the latest news Live from Hall H, great interviews with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars and random convention shenanigans, courtesy of our Comic-Con Attack Squad! To keep tabs on all of the happenings, just head over to our Comic-Con 2008 Homepage.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.