July 15, 2008

‘Max Payne’ Leaps From Game To Film

By Scott Bowles

Comic-book fans aren't the only nerds with Hollywood knocking at their doors for material.

Video-game enthusiasts are finding their fare more popular than ever as Max Payne leads a wave of big-screen adaptations.

Payne stars Mark Wahlberg in the title role as a DEA agent who teams with an assassin (Mila Kunis) to solve a string of murders.

On its heels are film versions of popular games Gears of War and Bioshock. Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard) is expected to direct War, due next year, while Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) has been tapped to direct Bioshock, slated for 2010.

Wahlberg concedes he was not a Payne gamer but says one of his assistants "plays it all the time, and I probably watched him play more than I should. It's got a story line more complex than most video-game movies."

Whether that's enough for box-office success is uncertain. Game adaptations tend to be feast (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, $131 million) or famine (BloodRayne, $2 million).

Kunis says it's daunting trying to please video-game fans.

"I made the mistake of stumbling on an Internet site of fans and what they thought of the casting," she says. "I hope I don't cross them on the street before the movie. Maybe they'll change their minds when I'm in leather pants and bustier." (c) Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.


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