After what seemed like a long period of radio silence: a tidal wave of pre-promotion for the Mortal Kombat has been unleashed with long held embargoes lifting! A veritable carpet bombing of articles has resulted, with film producer Todd Garner revealing more about the creative details of making the movie and its evolutionarytimeline. Read on for details:
A decade ago Kevin Tancharoen teased excerpts from a reboot movie script that would've expanded upon his work on the significantly different world of low budget webseries Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Speaking with Collider, Todd Garner described the approach as "super dark and kind of like The Crow".
Tancharoen formally exited the project in 2013. Garner came on board as a producer some time around the year that followed, pushing the cinematic reboot toward higher loftier goals:
"Tancharoen's stuff was super contained; obviously, the guy was doing it on a shoestring budget, and it was very dark and kind of contained. And so when I read the script, they gave me the movie to work on, I [said], 'This isn't what we should do,' which was stupid, probably. I said, 'This isn't what we should do, we should really try to open this up.'"
This push towards a bigger cinematic design led to the much publicized recruitment of James Wan and an investment in a bigger picture. The Crow -- originally a comic book by James O'Barr -- would no longer be a comparison point, but the frequently emulated template of Marvel Studios and their mass market adaptation of comic book IP remained a common touchstone. Garner explained:
"Okay, if you were really gonna do this, and not just try to make it like The Crow, not just try to make it like Kevin did where he's like, 'Well, I only have this much money, so I'm gonna be in an apartment building with guys kicking the shit out of each other,' what would you do?' And so we started from the premise of, 'What would Marvel do?"
The Marvel movie method shaped development of the new script, but where Marvel relied on one of their most enduring and entrenched founding characters to initiate and anchor the Avengers franchise [Iron Man], Garner describes Liu Kang as a "weird [adjustment]". Elaborating on the premise, "So we said, 'Okay, maybe we just start neutral and come into the movie, and then really set up the canvas where we can meet all of the characters that people love."
Lewis Tan will carry some of that burden as Cole Young: a character created for the movie and central to the premise and first official trailer. Garner spoke with ComicBook.com about the controversial invention, explaining his role as an entry point for a movie audience: "... the worry is when you have such a deep piece of [IP]] like a video game that if you get too stuck in just the video game, you can sometimes ignore the rest of the world".
Despite the enduring legacy and popularity of the 1995 feature film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; Garner questions whether the same approach -- a tournament based on the plot of the 1992 video game and often compared to Bruce Lee masterpiece Enter the Dragon -- would be too jarring and limiting in 2021.
"He sees the eyes of anyone who's never played the game, just to come in and go, ‘Oh, this is Kabal. Oh, this is Kano, oh this is Sonya Blade.’ As opposed to just jumping in and having a tournament and just sort of how the '95 movie did it. We felt like that might be a little limiting for people and be a little jarring for people. Kind of in the same way ... I think about Transformers, if you just loved that game, you can't just come in and have a bunch of robots. You have to have somebody coming in and narrating. I use that in air quotes. So that's the character Cole is playing. We're not trying to say he's a new character in the game, he's just used to start introduction into the world of Mortal Kombat."
Sadly, some characters won't make the cut, but not all omissions will be as surprising. Garner told ComicBook.com that Rain was briefly considered for the movie, "But Reptile's sort of like Rain and so it's like... And that was just a weird fight [...] So we had to pull that character out, which is like, that wouldn't have been a [main] character anyway." He explained the vetting process to Collider, noting the differences between playing a game and watching a movie:
"I always like to say to people, 'Who do you normally play?' And them I'm like, 'Welp, okay! That movie is not this one!' But we tried to really get the right characters in, and tried to be intelligent about [whether] we were just throwing characters in just to have them in the movie so we can placate people, or do they really belong in the movie."
[Related Article: Johnny Cage In Doubt For Mortal Kombat Movie]
The red band trailer has reportedly become the most watched in YouTube history! Are you excited about their approach to the material? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Mortal Kombat officially comes to limited tehatres and streaming premiere on HBO Max on April 16th! Download the MKO App via App Store and Google Play to subscribe to the release day event and receive notifications to your device! Find and discuss more stories in the Media & Merchandise forum.