”I was a little nervous about doing a movie based on a videogame because I grew up playing Pac-Man and Asteroids and there was no story there,” says Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg. ”But after seeing this game and how cinematic it was and how great the story was, I thought it was a very natural choice.” The game he is referring to is Max Payne. Wahlberg stars in the big-screen version, in theaters this Friday. The movie is a loose adaptation of the best-selling third-person shooter from 2001 (for PC and PS2), in which a brooding New York City detective takes on a shadowy criminal organization after his wife and child are brutally murdered in their home.
”We all played the game — or watched someone play the game,” says Chris ”Ludacris” Bridges, who plays Lieut. Jim Bravura, an Internal Affairs investigator. ”It’s important when adapting anything to film to understand or grasp the source material. I know John spent a lot of time with the game, as well.” That would be John Moore, the film’s director. Though it turns out Moore, a fan of racing games, was lacking some basic skills — after watching Max get killed again and again, he hired a kid to finish the game for him.
Mila Kunis, cast as the dangerous and mysterious Mona Sax, dug the abundance of games on the film’s Toronto sets: ”[Castmate] Donal Logue is an old friend of mine,” she says, ”and on the first day of production, I busted into this trailer thinking it was his. And there’s Chris, sitting on the couch with two of his buddies playing Xbox. They had this full-on hookup of videogames — and they were much smarter than I was.”