I talked Tuesday with Chris Bridges (a.k.a. Ludacris, a nickname he wants to leave behind for his Hollywood career, much like 50 Cent, The Rock and Andre 3000) for a Los Angeles Times feature on "RocknRolla" and "Max Payne" but we also talked a bit about a different movie he’s filmed that also has a connection to video-game culture: "Game," the Lionsgate film due next year.
"The first thing I thought of when I read the script was the ‘The Running Man,’ but this goes off in a dark direction," said Bridges, who is compiling quite the acting resume after roles in "Crash," "Hustle & Flow" and "2 Fast 2 Furious," as well as two-episode appearance a while back in "Law & Order: SVU."
"Game" is a near-future thriller about a massive game in which the battles aren’t between sim characters, they’re fought by convicts are manipulated like flesh-and-blood puppets by gleeful gamers playing at home. Gerard Butler ("300") plays Kable, a death-row convict who is plucked from his cell and dropped into the rock-‘em, sock-‘em combat. He’s proves so adept at carnage that he becomes a pop-culture star to the global audience watching the grisly game unfold. Bridges plays a character nicknamed Humanz who is not a fan; he’s part of a resistance effort that sees the game as an ethical affront and have a plan to use Kable to bring down the entire game.
"I’m a renaissance man, a guy who is upset about what’s going on — people getting these chips put in their brains that control them — and is one of the guys trying to stop it," Bridges said. "It’s intense, I guarantee it. It’s a movie by [writers and co-directors] Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the guys that did ‘Crank’ with Jason Statham. And I also worked with Gerard on [the upcoming Guy Ritchie film] ‘RockNRolla,’ so that’s great, it makes it smoother when you get to know people. It’s definitely going to be a great sci-fi film."
The movie also has two celebrated TV actors, Michael C. Hall from "Dexter," who plays the evil genius who created the game, which is called "Slayers," and Kyra Sedgwick from "The Closer," who plays a character named Gina Parker Smith in the film. I called Lionsgate to find out the release date but they haven’t locked anything in.
"Game" was originally scheduled for release this fall but a Lionsgate spokeswoman said that turned out to be too ambitious, considering all the moving parts in making the movie. (There’s been conjecture that there were some special-effects snags in post-production but I haven’t gotten anything solid one way or the other on that.) If I get a firmer time frame for the film, I’ll update this post.
– Geoff Boucher
Photo of Chris Bridges by Mel Melcon\Los Angeles Times