Mortal Kombat film producer says R-rating was the highest precedence

Mortal Kombat movie producer says R-rating was the top priority

The first red-band trailer for Warner Bros. Mortal Kombat film reboot leaned violently into its R-rating. In that first look, Sub-Zero dismembered Jax’s arms utilizing ice magic, Scorpion threw a kunai by way of the again of an murderer’s cranium, and Kano ripped out Reptile’s still-beating coronary heart. It could be a cinematic sin within the trendy period, the place hardcore followers are lavishly serviced, to make a Mortal Kombat film with out excessive graphic violence.

But it appears equally difficult to persuade a serious studio like Warner Bros. to put money into making an R-rated online game film. Still, producers James Wan and Todd Garner, and first-time feature-film director Simon McQuoid pulled it off. It was half persistence, half product of the occasions, Garner mentioned in a roundtable interview this week.

“Basically, there were five things James and I said — you might call them demands, you might call them really polite asks — we said, ‘There are five things that are really important to us in this movie.’ One, it’s got to be R-rated,” Garner mentioned. “Two, it’s acquired to be a various solid.

“Three, they’ve got to be [legitimate] to the lore and backstory, and each character. Four is they need to be real martial artists. And five is we’re gonna do these [specific] characters.”

Oh, and Garner advised Warner Bros. executives, their movie received’t have any “movie stars.” (Fans of The Raid star Joe Taslim could take difficulty with that evaluation, however Garner’s level stands: Mortal Kombat isn’t a film pushed by marquee Hollywood actors.)

“And they went, ‘Cool,’” he mentioned. “Seven years later, we got the movie made [laughs]. So maybe not the smartest things to say. But we said ’em. And we stuck with it.”

Raiden uses lightning in a still from Mortal Kombat (2021)

Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment

Garner mentioned numerous components — the first being the potential for some huge cash — helped persuade Warner Bros. that limiting the potential viewers for a Mortal Kombat film by making it graphically violent wasn’t the worst thought.

“Luckily, films like Crazy Rich Asians got here alongside and Black Panther and these films that had numerous solid that murdered all over the world and made a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars},” Garner mentioned. “And you already know, films like Deadpool and John Wick that have been R-rated made [400] or 500 million bucks. And Warner mentioned, ‘Yeah, OK.’ So in a bizarre means, the world caught as much as one thing that James and I have been speaking about seven years in the past.”

He added, “I’ve simply seen once you’re shoehorning one thing into the PG-13 [rating] that shouldn’t be and it sucks. It’s simply sucks to make. It’s no enjoyable. And folks see by way of it. […] But for one thing known as Mortal Kombat, which the sport has folks ripping one another’s spines out. Very robust to go, ‘Yeah, we’ll be good with the PG-13.’”

Kano holds a beating heart in a still from Mortal Kombat (2021)

Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment

Garner mentioned that the choice so as to add an unique character, Cole Young, who’s new to the franchise, was a part of the aforementioned 5 calls for. The producers didn’t need one more white man in a various, Asian-led solid to be the hero. In different phrases, casting Christopher Lambert as Japanese thunder god Raiden wouldn’t fly of their movie.

Young, performed by Chinese-English actor Lewis Tan, is a blended martial artist who will get roped into the magical Mortal Kombat match, getting into a wierd world of sorcerers, half-dragons, and undead super-ninjas. But he’s additionally the viewers insert, somebody who can ask the questions that moviegoers unfamiliar with Mortal Kombat lore could be afraid to ask.

“I just felt if I was getting the chance to make a movie with a diverse cast, it felt weird to me to have a white actor, literally Johnny Cage, be the hero of the story,” Garner mentioned. “It just felt weird all of a sudden, to have like, ‘Oh, by the way, the white guy is going to come in and kind of be the hero of the movie.’ And we already have Kano in the movie, who’s so great —he’s my big carrot for the sequel.”

Mortal Kombat shall be launched in film theaters and on HBO Max on April 16.

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