The cast of the Max Payne movie – Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Ludacris – along with director John Moore showed some footage at Comic Con before going upstairs to talk to the press. Spirits were high as Wahlberg picked up his cell phone twice to try to direct his friends to San Diego, while taking jabs at The Happening. Plenty of profanity too.
Crave Online: The video game is so cinematic and inspired by movies, how do you make a movie that’s inspired by that?
John Moore: I’ll try that one. It’s kind of obvious because it is so cinematic. It seems that it was fairly requesting to be on the big reinterpreted on the big screen. You don’t sense that there’s resistance within that format, within that piece of art to be transferred to the big screen. So I thought that it’s like the signs within the game say, "Look, I think this would be good on the big screen. I think this would look cool on the big screen." So I think that’s what made its adaptation, I won’t say easy, but flow quite naturally.
Mark Wahlberg: Well, when I read the script, I was like, "Wow this is awesome." I said, "Where did it come from?" They said it was based on a videogame. I said, "Oh, f*ck no, I don’t want to do that." And then they were like, "No, it’s really cool. You’ve got to check it out." And so I started doing a little research and then when I saw the game, I realized, wow, the story is really elaborate. There’s a lot going on there. So I was surprised they hadn’t made it a movie earlier.
Crave Online: So how do you make a two dimensional character three dimensional?
Mark Wahlberg: With the help of this man, John. I’ve done characters and I’ve showed glimpses of what I hope to accomplish in this movie with Fear and The Departed and Four Brothers, but I wanted to take this a whole other place. Thankfully John was also in the headspace of doing something that really was layered because I had already done the guy with a few words, you know? That’s one note and that’s it. I wanted to really kind of go off and push the envelope.
John Moore: No, it’s true. Mark would always talk about variance. There’s no point in just being you know flat line cool for the whole movie. I mean, that’s going to get old quick. For a movie or a story that’s based on a man losing his wife and child, for him to not show a range of emotion there would have been the wrong choice so Mark goes to places in the movie that a quite extreme.
Crave Online: So you’re not running the wind in this movie?
Mark Wahlberg: I’m not running from sh*t in this movie. No more running from the wind.
Crave Online: Mila, tell us about your character.
Mila Kunis: Okay. I play an assassin. Her name’s Mona Sax. My sister gets murdered and I blamed Mark’s character, Max Payne, for the murder.
Mark Wahlberg: Yeah. She thinks I had sex with her and did all this other stuff.
Mila Kunis: Yeah. He schtuped my sister.
Mark Wahlberg: No, I didn’t.
Mila Kunis: And so I go and I find him and f*ck him up. But then I realize we’re both looking for the same bad guy and then we team up.
Crave Online: How does the movie diverge from the videogame?
John Moore: I think diverge seems like a slightly negative term.
Crave Online: I don’t mean it like that.
John Moore: No, but it has been used because with a fan base, same as you adapt a book or something, people seem to. What I’d like to think is that it just it moves things forward. I like to think of it as it’s your favorite restaurant with a great exciting new dish on the menu so you want to go there and you want to try this new thing. What we did is, I can’t be respectful enough towards the game. It’s a story game. But there’s great action in it and it’s a great story and we just moved it forward. So I think and hope we did.
Crave Online: What kind of visual effects can we look for?
John Moore: Very real stuff. I’m bored sh*tless with CG. I think everyone is bored f*cking sh*tless of it.
Mark Wahlberg: It was nice to see that a month after we shot the movie, there was already trailers and stuff cut together because they’re not waiting for effects shots.
John Moore: Yeah because we’re not waiting for effects.
Mark Wahlberg: All the stuff, we actually shot on film. There’s no wire work. There’s none of that.
John Moore: Physical sets, physical action. Fight scenes, gun play, it’s all very real. I mean look I’m not reinventing the f*cking wheel here. Big f*cking deal, the guy doesn’t want to use CGI, but I’m saying in a movie that’s about a central character whose name is his emotion, you don’t want to be like, "Wow the effects were cool, man." F*ck that. Let’s load another clip and blow his f*cking head off. That’s where this movie’s at. It’s not an effects movie.
Crave Online: At the same time, you show angels and things.
John Moore: Its sprinkled. Those who know the genesis of the game know that that’s the result of a hallucination but again we had actors in full body makeup with prosthetics and things like that because I just don’t trust CG. Unless you’re f*cking ILM, they all suck.
Mark Wahlberg: Even with the demons and all those things, I didn’t really have to focus on those things. I have to believe. If I don’t feel like I can believe then how can I convince an audience? It’s just that I can’t put my best foot forward. So with this, like my character, I never buy into the whole demon thing. I think these people are just whacked out and they’re crazy and then obviously I have to take the drug in order to survive and then experience it myself.
Crave Online: So your character has to have some sort of reality?
Mark Wahlberg: Yes and I have to have some sort of way to connect with them or I don’t really feel like I can do it with complete confidence.
Crave Online: Ludacris, how are you finding your way with all this effects stuff? Is that kind of new for you?
Ludacris: I mean, not necessarily. There’s been a couple of movies that I’ve been in as far as the action scenes are concerned but this is my first time you know working with John who I’ve been trying to work with him for a long time so it was exciting for me. And it’s definitely a different role being the internal affairs agent and my kind of police office type role so I had a lot of fun doing it also.
Crave Online: Mark, you joke about The Happening but are you proud of the film?
Mark Wahlberg: I am. Amazing to work with Night. I thought it was great for me to get to do a different kind of character, but I felt so bad for him because every time you read a review, the first two paragraphs are the people chopping him up. If you’re lucky, and these are major publications, if you’re lucky they actually end up reviewing the movie. I didn’t know the kind of baggage he had, but I know he’s a great talent. I know he’s learned from the mistakes that 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 I get to do something different, any time I’m not in a f*cking jail cell, I’m very happy.
Crave Online: Mila, will you still be doing stuff like Family Guy?
Mila Kunis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Family Guy. I do one day out of the month. It’s really hard. I did it last week. We did like six episodes in one day. It’s really funny, but yeah, we still do it.
Crave Online: But you’ll still be in the show if this movie makes $200 million, right?
Mila Kunis: Oh, I will never [leave]. Family Guy is the most unbelievable job.
Mark Wahlberg: If this movie makes 200 million I’m slitting my wrist.
Crave Online: What can you say about The Fighter right now?
Mark Wahlberg: That I’m 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 in order to be ready, I have to just continue on until they say it’s not going to happen.
Crave Online: Why do you think it’s not going to happen?
Mark Wahlberg: Well, I don’t know. I tried to do two other boxing movies and trained like I was fighting for world title and they fell apart so it just seems like it’s not meant to be, but they really want to make it happen, so got to keep going.
Crave Online: That seems like it’s one of those personal projects for you.
Mark Wahlberg: Oh, definitely. And it was great becaus I stayed in shape for Max Payne. I was up every day training before work and it’s one of those things that you have to hope that it’ll happen and be ready if it does so we’ll see what happens.
Crave Online: Is there another character you’d like to do again?
Mark Wahlberg: No. I mean we talked about doing an Italian Job sequel but they could never get the script right. Brazilian Job. It’s been around for a long time, but they could never get the script right. I don’t think it’s worth doing it for the sake of a paycheck. There’s plenty of bad movies I could make.
Crave Online: You don’t think that’ll ever happen?
Mark Wahlberg: No, but if people love this and we can make another one that’s better than or at least as good as the first, then I’d be interested in doing something like that if we could get everybody sitting here together again. If Mila was nice to me the second time around then I’d do it.
Crave Online: There’s a great Entourage episode you guys featured at Comic Con. Did you know anything about this before then?
Mark Wahlberg: I didn’t until I saw Johnny Drama screaming, "Victory!" I had no idea what it was about. And of course you know my agent being the genius that he is, as soon as we did the Aquaman episode, he tried to put the real Aquaman together with me and Jim Cameron. Me and Jim Cameron. I saw Jim Cameron when we were in New Zealand, we were at Peter Jackson’s house. We were both laughing about it hysterically. It would be the dumbest idea in the world. But for every 10 dumb ideas, he has one good one so as long as he keeps rolling.
Crave Online: So you’re officially saying Aquaman is not happening?
Mark Wahlberg: Aquaman is not happening. Not with me. Maybe with Emile Hirsch or somebody. I’m just saying a younger, more talented, better looking actor. I like Emile Hirsch. To clarify my comment, he’s a lot like Robert Downey, Jr, actors going into the comic book genre. You have really credible actors going into this kind of movie, it really brings credibility to it. But for me to do Aquaman at 40? You know I’m barely old enough to play a fightere who won the title at 33 so.
Crave Online: You’re not 40.
Mark Wahlberg: I’m 37. But playing a guy, playing Aquaman, I mean Aquaman’s 19 years old.
Crave Online: If the superhero role was right, would you want to play a superhero? Like Downey certainly is of an age?
Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, if it was right. But again, it’s so hard for me to find something like that that I can really identify with and have the confidence to convey to an audience that I am this guy and have them believe it. It’s a leap of faith.
Crave Online: What was it like working on The Lovely Bones?
Mark Wahlberg: Lovely Bones, awesome. Peter’s an amazing talent and what a sweet, sweet guy. I hope it’s really good and I hope I don’t have to come here and lie because, with a movie like this, I don’t necessarily feel cocky, but I feel confident when you have the materials and you actually have a good movie, it feels good. You know you don’t have to lie and give that wink, you know, "Go see it, it’s going to be really great. It’s the best experience ever." You know you feel really good about it. If you’re lucky enough to have five good ones every 15, 20 movies you make, then you got a good body of work there. No, but I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s a very emotional movie but I haven’t seen any of it. Seeing this I really feel like a pride. I certainly don’t feel like I have to bury my head in the ground like an ostrich.