Poster for "Rampage" starring Dwayne the Rock Johnson (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Rock Talks “The Fun of Destruction” and “Rooting for the Monsters” in Rampage

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The cast and crew of the upcoming monster movie Rampage, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Naomie Harris, producer Hiram Garcia, and director Brad Peyton, recently spoke with IGN and about the filmBased on the classic arcade game, Rampage finds The Rock’s character, Davis Okoye, facing off against three mutated monster-animals: a giant croc, a giant gorilla, and a giant wolf.

Asked why he thought Rampage would make for a good movie, Johnson said, “It’s such a simple premise, so the challenge was to take this fun, simple premise and try to build it out and hopefully make a cool movie out of it. If you do it right, hopefully it can turn into something that’s really cool. Because you’ve got three gigantic monsters who’ve been mutated through genetic editing, and you have a hero in Naomie Harris’ character, and then you have some big bald brown guy running around, shooting sh*t, and trying not to get killed!”

Though the original game does have a “simple premise,” the production team altered it for this film. The original game’s monsters are actually humans who’ve been transformed, but director Peyton didn’t think that would work on-screen. “That was a solid no,” he laughed. “Let’s just say I said no to ‘Rock-zilla.’ It was presented in a [conference] room much like this and I was like, ‘That’s a hard pass from me.’ It’s like a Saturday Night Live skit, a little bit. I wanted to balance out some kind of grounding aspect with the fun. Marvel is a tone that I really go, ‘Okay that’s the zone.'”

Instead, one of the monsters—George, the giant albino gorilla—is actually a “friend” to Johnson’s character. “Davis was the head of an anti-poaching unit for a military unit in Rwanda,” producer Hiram Garcia explained, “so he’s coming from a place where he’s an animal lover. He’s actually not a big fan of humans. He has a hard time trusting them because he’s seen what they can do. Part of his arc is really learning through [Naomie Harris’s character] Kate that he can start to trust people again. But George is his family and his best friend. We wanted to make sure that we’re sensitive to the fact that all the animals are victims in this.”

As a result, although the monsters are tearing up cities and terrorizing national parks, the team emphasized that the animals are not the real enemies. “We’re actually trying to save the monster,” continued Garcia. “Our story is essentially about a man trying to save his best friend. That’s our journey, and ultimately Davis is doing everything he can while everyone’s freaking out and unfortunately these creatures are being triggered to rampage out of their control. Davis, to the end, is trying to save them. And he’s still trying to save the world, but ultimately he just wants to save his friend and bring his friend back, because his friend never asked for this.”

“I know when I watch a movie I’m going to be rooting for the monsters,” said Johnson, “because I love the monsters. I’m also rooting for the relationship and just taking myself out and watching as a fan, but I think everybody’s going to be satisfied. There’s something for everybody. But the fun of the destruction of [the video game] Rampage, which is completely destroying everything, that’s in here.”

As I’ve said in my previous coverage, this movie is either be generically muddy or awesomely absurd. I’m hoping for the latter.

Rampage arrives in theaters on April 13, 2018.

(via IGN; image: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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