Friday, September 17, 2021

Director Brad Peyton on ‘Rampage’: ‘Dwayne and a Giant Wolf… This is Awesome!’

Dwayne Johnson and director Brad Peyton attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Rampage” at Microsoft Theater on April 4, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.
(April 3, 2018 – Source: Christopher Polk/Getty Images North America)

*Rampage” marks director Brad Peyton’s third film collaboration with star Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonThe dynamic duo previously teamed for 2012’s “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and 2015’s “San Andreas,” but Peyton noted during a recent press conference that their latest project was filmed faster than the monsters that grow in the movie.

“This movie was shot fast, in just 55 days,” he said. “That is 20 days less than ‘San Andreas’ took. Which left me just 6 weeks in post-production. That means I was doing visual effects and the mix and the music – all at the same time, which is not normal. But, I’ve learned from Dwayne that I also like working a lot.”

“It was interesting because we ended the movie with a lot of green screens,” Peyton continued. “Plus Dwayne and a giant wolf..and it all came together quickly. So quickly, that even I, at the mix stage, seeing the music and sound come in so quickly, (especially for) the last 25 minutes of the movie, even though I had seen storyboards and given approval for all of that, I still had moments where I went, ‘This is awesome!’ It got so big and kept growing.”

“The digital people came in with so much great stuff (and) even the person who planned that all was like, ‘This is crazy!’ So, I can’t imagine what it’s like for these guys, who have to focus on a tennis ball and then all realize, ‘Wow! This is really huge!'” 

Director Brad Peyton (L) and actor Dwayne Johnson arrive at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Rampage” at the Microsoft Theatre on April 4, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.
(Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America

Peyton revealed why he seemingly prefers making big, action-packed blockbusters versus smaller films.

“It’s weird that my comfort level is destruction,” he joked. “Yeah, I got to the end of (looking over) the movie and I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s get a rocket launcher and blow a lot of shit up’ and then I was like, ‘Why is this my comfort zone?’”

“Personally, for me, I feel very lucky that I grew up on the movies of the late ’80s and early ’90s..James Cameron. Spielberg. Those guys,” said Peyton. “So, tonally, I can’t help but be influenced by that. But when I go to make a movie, I don’t look at other movies, because I’ve seen them all.”

“I’m such a huge movie fan and gamer and fanboy – a total nerd,” Peyton continued. “So, I try just to focus on what I’m doing…and when I sent out the script and talked to these guys, I was like, ‘There’s some heart here. I can make this work. I’ve got the tone of this.’ So, influence-wise, it was just growing up on these movies, coming from a place of passion and really relating to those movies…so, I know it’s weird that I like destruction, but I need the work!”

Peyton then elaborated on why he and Johnson seem to work so well together.

(L-R) DWAYNE JOHNSON as Davis Okoye and JASON LILES as George in “RAMPAGE” © 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Well, I just love his muscles,” he joked. “Honestly? I’ve just had the great fortune of working with Dwayne on only my second movie – and just realized that he was a great human being, very wise person, who had a lot of success in a bunch of different fields and was absolutely ambitious. I’ve learned..and continue to learn…so much from him, both as a person and a business person.”

“What also draws me is the feeling of a true creative partnership. he takes big swings,” Peyton continued. “What I learned from him, ultimately, was ‘When you get up to the plate, try to hit a grand slam. Why else would you go up to the plate?’ I love that!”

“I don’t know if I was ever trained to think like that,” Peyton added. “But this gigantic Hawaiian dude really knows how to do this! So, ultimately, it’s that kind of thing that he brings to the table.”

Peyton feels Johnson and he have a special symbiotic relationship that benefits them both.

“Creatively, every single time we get together, whether to talk about things or work on things, it always adds up to something greater than I feel I could have imagined on my own – and I hope I do that for him as well,” said Peyton. “He has this combination of ambition, passion, drive and raw creativity – and as a filmmaker, that’s what gets you up at 6AM, when you really just want to sleep, because you haven’t slept in like four months!”

“That’s ultimately what it is,” Peyton concluded. “I love collaborating with him – with someone that passionate, driven, creative…He brings it every single time – and it’s just kind of an awesome thing.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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