Sunday, December 2, 2007

On Set: GAME in Albuquerque

We've seen and heard bits and pieces of what's been happening with Game -- and it looks like we're beginning to get coverage (Spirit has been getting a ton from fans of Frank Miller, Comic Books and much more).

No matter how exciting the film at hand, being on a film set can often be a dull and tedious process. And yet, there was something extremely satisfying about being on the set of the upcoming action sci-fi flick from CRANK creators Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, tentatively titled GAME. Perhaps it was the warning of a crewmember as he yelled, "Falling body parts!" followed by a smattering of limbs being exploded into the air, as well as their eventual collapse onto the automotive wreckage below.

Normally studios set it up so that any observational visits to a set happen on an uneventful day of shooting. But based on my experience with the obviously action-packed GAME, I'm guessing no day of shooting will be without its fair share of explosions and body bags. This makes me all the more fortunate to be able to fill you in on the awesomeness of the sequence that was currently being shot.



Lionsgate took the liberty of flying us out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where filming is currently taking place (they were on day 9 of a 53 day shoot when we showed up). After enjoying the fine dining of the hotel we were set up in, a van came to pick us up and take us to the set. As we neared the location, off in the distance was what looked to be a stadium, with a metal ceiling covering the top. Dust clouds were emanating from the inside.

We hopped out of the van to get a closer look.

The entire set was covered in mounds of dirt. Wooden spiked barriers covered in barbed wire were littered across the arena, as were about half a dozen broken down cars, many of which were set ablaze. BMX bikers darted up and around the scene as a geared up Gerard Butler stood menacingly with his gun ready to fire. And then, an explosion. The fire launched full blast into the air, debris flying everywhere, and the temperature rising exponentially for about three seconds. It was at this point I realized, "This film is gonna kick ass."

Twenty feet away they had a collection of monitors showing the take being filmed, but the directors were up close and personal on set, with Mark Neveldine operating the camera.

Surrounding the area were backlit white sheets, which we were told would later be turned into holographic advertisements. It will be interesting to see whether they go with brand-name products, or something made up. At any rate, it was confirmed they'd at least be "exotic," probably giving off the vibe of those whacked out commercials you might see in Japan.

Also occupying the set were a small group of extras playing Genericons (discussed above), spread across bleachers on the sidelines. Additionally, we were informed that everything surrounding the arena would all be CGI'd in later, basically having the prisoners battle in a confined, isolated part of the city.

Having just finished one of his takes, Gerard Butler rose from the storm of dust and removed his army vest. The just recorded dailies played back on the monitors as he chugged down a cup of coffee, watching attentively. It's looking good. He then proceeded to gear up again and get right back into the action.

A bit later, writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor also made their way to the monitors, reviewing previously shot footage. Recognizing a couple of the other journalists (Peter from, and Alex from, they asked us how we were doing. "Haven't seen you before," Mark pointed out as he bumped fists with me. Apparently, they had a private party with a bunch of the online journalists at one of the past Comic Cons. Looks like I've been missing out. These are definitely the kind of guys you'd wanna chill and drink a beer with.


Available to answer some of the other questions we had was Executive Producer David Rubin, who kicked things off by discussing one of the other major battle sequences in the film.

Rubin: Did you guy get a chance to drive through downtown at all? We built this big structure down town, on the four corners. We are going to destroy it in the middle of one of the battles. This is right in the middle of downtown. Albuquerque had four corners that were vacant. Which is strange to see in the middle of a city. We took advantage of that, and we built a set. One of the major battles takes place in what we call "Container City". It's kind of exciting. We just shot the beginning of that battle last weekend.