Do you remember your first time gobbling up little military men as you laid waste to a city? Oh let me clarify, your first time gobbling up little military men as you laid waste to a city in a video game. This Friday, April 13th, you can relive your childhood memories when the 80’s arcade classic, Rampage comes to the big screen!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Primatologist David Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance, but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates the gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.
Although Rampage may seem like your average giant monster movie, the underlying foundation of the film relies on the relationship between George and his caretaker David. In this vein, the filmmakers wanted to ensure that their relationship felt genuine and David’s background as a primatologist felt authentic. Working with actual gorillas, learning sign language, casting actors who had backgrounds in primate behavior; the filmmakers took great lengths to engrain authenticity in the actors and the set. Now pull the curtain back and take a peek into how the movie was made, as well as some facts that you might not have known about the cast, crew, and creatures of Rampage.
Dwayne Johnson, Director Brad Peyton, and Producer Beau Flynn Grew Up Playing Rampage as Kids.
“Rampage was one of my favorite arcade games growing up, and to this day, nobody plays it better than me… at least that’s what I tell myself.”
– Dwayne Johnson
What? Did you think they didn’t play Rampage? For those who don’t know, Rampage (the movie) is based on the 1986 arcade game of the same name. Since its release, Rampage has become an iconic title in gaming history. Rampage allowed players to control huge creatures and were prompted to search and destroy EVERYTHING.
The fun and destructive gameplay made it a staple for any kid or teenager who grew up in the 80’s, and over 40 years after its initial release, Rampage still has a spot in many gamers’ hearts.
Director Brad Peyton, Producers Beau Flynn & Hiram Garcia and Dwayne Johnson Have Tangoed Before.
The four person team had previously worked on 2015’s San Andreas and 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn had previously worked on 5 films together. When speaking about the production team and their previous work, Dwayne Johnson has this to say:
“Not only are they amazing creative partners, but they’ve become damn good friends as well. When you dance that many times with someone in this business, you naturally develop a shorthand.”
– Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson and Producers Beau Flynn & Hiram Garcia Worked With Actual Gorillas
The relationship between Davis and George is a crucial aspect of the film, so the team needed to make their relationship believable. To get a feeling for the zoo environment where Davis raised George, Dwayne Johnson and producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia visited the gorilla enclosure at the Zoo Atlanta. After visiting Zoo Atlanta, Beau Flynn commented on how calm and comfortable Dwayne was with the gorillas.
“When Dwayne met the silverbacks, I could feel that the gorillas made a connection with him. The people from the zoo were surprised at how comfortable the gorillas were around Dwayne. I think it was because of his natural calmness and inherent confidence.”
– Beau Flynn
American Sign Language Plays a Giant Role in The Film.
American Sign Language (ASL) has been a conduit for humans to communicate with other species for decades. One of the most famous examples is Project Koko, when a Stanford University student taught ASL to a gorilla named Koko. Brad Peyton saw ASL as a way to make George more than just a mindless monster but an individual with feelings and emotions, you can see his struggles throughout the movie.
“I’ve been fascinated by the fact that they can know so many words and carry on complex conversations. That was built into the script early on and was a big touchstone for Dwayne.”
– Brad Peyton
The Actors Starring as Davis’ Primatology Team Actually Have Backgrounds in Primate Behavior
When casting actors for Davis’s primatology team in the movie, the producers wanted to select actors who could convey competence. This led to the casting of Joel Heller, Caitlin Johnson, and Brooke Allen, who all have backgrounds in primate behavior. Caitlin Johnson, who works with chimpanzees in real life, praised Jason Lile’s (George) acting throughout the movie, noting that his behavior, body language, and vocalizations were really true to gorilla behavior.
“They wanted to have people in the film who would know how to act around primates – especially imagining a situation where a 500-pound gorilla comes bursting through the walls.”
– Caitlin Johnson
At the wrap up party for Rampage, director, Brad Peyton gifted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson a vintage Rampage arcade machine.
Since Brad Peyton & Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were both huge fans of the original arcade game, it was only right that a vintage arcade machine was gifted at the end of filming. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson actually brought the gifted arcade machine to his next movie production so he and the cast & crew could play the game throughout production.
All of the facts featured in this article were pulled directly from The Art and Making of Rampage. This collection of photos, concept art, and insights is perfect for any fan of monster movies. Get all of your facts straight with The Art and Making of Rampage, available now.