Duke City is getting in 'Game'

Category: Gamer News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: November 2, 2007 | Publication: Albuquerque Journal | Author: DAN MAYFIELD, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Publication/Article Link:Albuquerque Journal

No, it isn't low-income housing. Nor is it a new retail building, or even the beginnings of a new arena — no matter what the Downtown rumor mill would have you believe.

At the intersection of Third Street and Silver Avenue in Downtown Albuquerque, the giant mess of construction is the set for the film "Game," which starts shooting Saturday.

The set, a pile of giant shipping containers and some fake walls, certainly looks like something more. But it's all fake. So fake that the walls are made of foam because it looks like concrete when it's blown up.

"Unless the wind is blowing," joked Michael Umble, "Game" publicity manager.

Sure, the film is an exciting futuristic adventure, but the film is also the first major feature like this to be produced by a local guy.

David Rubin moved to Albuquerque three years ago from Los Angeles when his wife was offered a job here. He has become a regular Albuquerquean — well, one who commutes to L.A. to make film deals happen.

Rubin has an impressive résumé in the film world. He was the producer of "Soul Plane" and the film "Believe in Me," which was shot entirely in New Mexico. But he might best be known for his work on "Crank," a movie with only action.

"Crank" followed an assassin who'd been injected with a poison that would kill him if his heart rate dropped. It's a fast-paced thriller that keeps viewers' hearts pumping too.

"Game" is also written by the same guys "Game," who wrote "Crank," is just as conceptual. Criminals in a futuristic world can earn their freedom if they play a variety of games. It stars of "300" fame. Gerard Butler

Through making his other films, Rubin said, he'd scouted Albuquerque and New Mexico and fell in love with the state.

"We're not here for the incentives," he said. "We don't care."

Well, he does care, but he said his commute to the office in L.A., despite a 90-minute flight, is still shorter now than his old one. He has a higher standard of living in a more relaxed atmosphere and he'd been eager to make a film here.

"We're filming here because of the ability to do what we need to," he said. "Albuquerque reached out to us.

"When you speak to people in the movie business, any opportunity they have not to live in Los Angeles is a golden opportunity," he said. "You can still do your job from here."

And, he said, it's getting easier every day what with the state's growing film industry, and specifically with Albuquerque Studios in our backyard.

"L.A. is not a film-friendly place," he said.

New Mexico is, and more than 2,500 people have stepped up to be a part of "Game," including hundreds of extras needed for the games, he said.

The film, much like "Crank," will rely on several spectacular stunts. Darren Prescott, the stunt coordinator, has worked on "Jackass Number Two" — yes, those were stunts — "Spider-Man 3" and "Crank." About 25 stunt people have been hired for the more technical work.

The most public part of the filming will be that Downtown set. The shipping crates are supposed to be futuristic lowincome housing. The buildings, which are just facades, are simply there to be blown up.

Much of the film will be shot at the BMX motorcycle track near the University of New Mexico baseball practice facility, as well as at a gypsum mine on Zia Pueblo, and at Albuquerque Studios.

Rubin said he took a harder route to learning how to produce films than many do.

"I sort of got into the business by getting coffee and stuff for producers," he said.

Of course, he does have the academic credentials — a New York University Film School diploma goes a long way.

RED KEEPS "GAME" IN THE BLACK: one of the first films to use the new Red brand camera, a fully digital cinema camera.

Steven Soderbergh is also using it, on his new film, "The Argentine."

The camera is a huge deal to many in the film industry because of a breakthrough Red made with image capture. It turns an itty-bitty flash memory card, the kind you use for a hand-held digital camera, into a 400-foot reel of film, said Jon Sagud of Red's marketing department.

"The 'Crank' boys are in our Top 10 hit list. We think very highly of them and we were interested in working with them," Sagud said. "Mr. Soderbergh has also used our cameras. I'm not sure who will be the first to hit the marquee."

It looks like Soderbergh may be there first because his film has been shooting, and Rubin isn't eager to make it a race of it.

The 10-pound camera has the resolution of an IMAX camera, but with the size of a small cinema camera that can be carried around sets. But, by shooting entirely digital from the beginning — film doesn't come cheap — it cuts down on the final cost of the film.

"Game" will shoot through January in and around Albuquerque. It's a long shoot, but the variety of games, stunts and shots in the film requires a split schedule, Rubin said.