In 2018, Dwayne Johnson is the star of “Rampage – Out of Control”, a film adaptation of an old video game. Since the feature is coming out on Netflix, this is an opportunity to take a look back at how the giant gorilla was approached.
Crawling : an adaptation of a little-known video game
Directed in 2018 by Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Frontier, Journey to the Center of the Earth 2: The Mysterious Island), Rampage – Out of Control follows the fate of trainer and scientist David Okoye. This last, played by Dwayne Johnson, is responsible for looking after a gorilla named George. But when this one is affected by a genetic modification, the monkey grows exponentially until reaching a giant size. And he is not the only animal to be affected by this astonishing modification.
What viewers don’t necessarily know is that Crawling is an adaptation of an eponymous arcade game published in 1986. The starting concept features three giant creatures that devastate entire cities. Brad Peyton therefore decided to stay true to the original material. This is what he explained at the time of the film’s release:
What interested me were the challenges and the possibilities in the game. The fact that the narrative was so little developed allowed us to take ownership of the concept; to create our own monsters; to tackle the subjects we wanted. We paid tribute to the game with humor and respect, featuring these creatures and hiding some ‘Easter eggs’ for the fans.
On the box office side, Rampage – Out of Control reported more than $ 428 million in revenue. For a budget of $ 120 million.
How to become a gorilla?
Behind George the Monkey hides comedian Jason Liles. Like his predecessors like Andy Serkis in King Kong and The Planet of the Apes, the actor trained to become a gorilla. For the occasion, stuntman and body language coach Terry Notary helped. The latter had already worked on films like The Planet of the Apes and The Square. So, Jason Liles learned to move, sit and move like a monkey. The production also fitted him with prostheses to make his forearms longer. The actor, who is still 2m05, had to constantly adjust his height according to the evolution of George during the plot. This is what Brad Peyton clarified:
Playing a gorilla weighing 220, 450 kilos or over 8 tons requires changing the way you move to represent this evolution.
To bring even more realism, the director also called on Tara Stoinski. This is the general and scientific director within the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International institute. She provided advice as a consultant, and provided the production with valuable insight into the personality and behavior of gorillas. And even if Crawling was not necessarily always very appreciated by the press and the spectators, the fact remains that we must never forget that behind each gorilla hides many artists, technicians and scientists to bring it to life.