Here are nine winning facts about directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s 2009 action-packed shoot-em-up, Gamer.
1. IT WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF DIGITAL CINEMA TECHNOLOGY.
Gamer was one of the first major motion pictures to be shot digitally using the RED ONE movie camera, which allows 4K footage to be transferred immediately to a flash card after filming in order to speed up the post-production process. RED cameras are now commonplace in the industry, with everything from expensive blockbusters like Deadpool 2 to documentaries like Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time using them.
2. BUT WAS MAYBE A LITTLE TOO AHEAD OF ITS TIME.
The filmmakers originally planned to shoot Gamer in 3D (before Avatar reignited the trend), but budget constraints forced them to scrap the idea. It was later converted to 3D for the movie’s home video release.
3. THE FILMMAKERS BLEW UP DOWNTOWN ALBUQUERQUE DURING SHOOTING.
Gamer was shot entirely on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in order to shoot the urban battle sequences, the filmmakers were given an entire intersection of downtown Albuquerque. They even built fake buildings in vacant areas of the intersection in order to blow them up for the battle scenes.
4. THE DIRECTORS AREN'T HUGE GAMERS AS ADULTS.
Though the movie looks at the darker side of what a video game world is capable of, Neveldine and Taylor weren't big gamers before diving into research for the movie. "As a kid, I was a huge gamer. I was never off of the Pac-Man or the original Nintendo. I didn’t follow that through," Neveldine said. Taylor responded with, "I feel like I probably would be one if I had the time."
5. LUDACRIS’S ROLE WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR HIM.
The rapper/actor was such a big fan of Crank that he asked the directing duo to write a role for him in their next movie. They obliged by writing the role of Brother, the leader of the underground activist organization, just for him.
6. BEFORE MAKING GAMER, MARK NEVELDINE ALMOST ADAPTED A REAL VIDEO GAME.
Years before Gamer hit the screen, Neveldine was hired to write the script for a movie adaptation of the Grand Theft Auto video game series. There was one problem, though: There was already a movie called Grand Theft Auto that Ron Howard starred in and directed back in 1977. The rights issues delayed the project, which Neveldine eventually left.
7. TOXIC AVENGER FANS MAY SPOT A FAMILIAR FACE IN THE DOWNTOWN BATTLE SCENE.
Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo (at :42 in the video above) as a Genericon during one of the movie's action scenes.
8. THERE'S A RUNNING MAN EASTER EGG IN THE MOVIE.
Gamer and 1987's The Running Man share plenty of themes, but eagle-eyed fans may notice that there's even more that the two movies have in common. According to Brian Taylor, one of the costumes that Arnold Schwarzenegger wears in Running Man can be seen on one of the characters in the Society in Gamer.
9. THE FILMMAKERS SHOT MUCH OF THE MOVIE ON ROLLER BLADES.
Neveldine concocted a technique he dubbed the “Rollercam”—holding the camera while skating on roller blades—in order to get up close to the intense action.