With the recent release of Tomb Raider, the video game movie genre has finally taken a big step forward. With any luck, the genre will continue to grow with the eventual debut of the upcoming Duke Nukem movie. The adaptation of the fan-favorite shooter series has excited many nostalgic gamers hoping to see Duke’s wiseass charm on the silver screen, and CinemaBlend recently had the chance to ask producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller what audiences can expect from the movie during an interview for their new film, A Quiet Place. Addressing their approach to Duke Nukem, Form explained that they learned a lot from Tim Miller’s Deadpool regarding how to handle tone, saying:
We are working on Duke Nukem right now. It’s going to be about tone. That’s about tone. How do you nail that tone in the way that Deadpool nailed the tone? I think we have to do that and if we don’t get the tone right then we’re not going to make the movie.
Adapting intellectual property into a movie required filmmakers and producers to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. In the case of Deadpool, that film worked because it found a tone that matched the titular character and capitalized on Ryan Reynolds’ ability to play a perfect smartass. That effect has not gone unnoticed throughout the film industry, and Andrew Form seems particularly interested in making sure that Duke Nukem can learn from Deadpool and find the tone to honor the source material and resonate with audiences. Moreover, the Duke Nukem games already play to very similar themes of meta-commentary on pop culture and satire of excessive masculinity, so the Deadpool roadmap seems worth following.
Beyond that, there are some inherent challenges to the creation of a Duke Nukem movie that wasn’t necessarily an issue for the Deadpool movie. Chief among these is the fact that Duke Nukem, by his very nature, is kind of a sexist jerk who demeans women and eschews most forms of political correctness. Andrew Form also addressed those characteristics during his interview with me, saying:
You know that having a misogynistic guy in today’s world, how do you make that fun and lovable and at the same time he’s got to be an incredible badass, so those are the things that we’re struggling with and we’re going to try and come out with what I hope is a really fun ride. That’s the goal, is for it to be a really fun ride.
One other element of the Duke Nukem movie that has raised numerous eyebrows in recent weeks is the possibility of Blockers actor John Cena stepping into the titular role. The potential casting makes sense when we consider the muscle-bound machismo that Cena brings to the table, and Andrew Form made sure to confirm that Cena (as of right now) is definitely onboard as their Duke. Form explained:
Yeah, that’s what we’re working with now. He is. Yes. We don’t have a script yet, so that is confirmed at this point but if he reads the script and he doesn’t like the script I’m sure there’s ways that he could pull out, but right now he’s our guy.
CinemaBlend will keep you posted with any and all relevant updates related to the Duke Nukem movie (as well as John Cena’s involvement in the film) as more information becomes available to us. For now, make sure to catch Andrew Form and Brad Fuller’s latest project when A Quiet Place debuts in theaters on April 6.