McConaughey Going On Thunder Run

With Gerard Butler & Sam Worthington

While James Cameron has led the way in live-action uses for a blend of real actors and CGI, other filmmakers are now starting to embrace the idea, albeit with mixed results. The latest group hopping on the bandwagon is Freedom Film, which has engaged the services of Matthew McConaughey, Sam Worthington and Gerard Butler for Thunder Run.

Simon West, who knows his way around an action film (and is right now shooting Sly Stallone and co on the Expendables sequel), has been hired to direct. But the new movie will primarily be using a mixture of recorded voice-over and some green screen work to bring a 3D CG world to life. West has some experience of that too, having just made the primarily animated Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D.

Thunder Run will adapt Pulitzer Prize winner David Zucchino and Black Hawk Down book writer Mark Bowden’s book, subtitled The Armoured Strike To Capture Baghdad. The Black Hawk connection will continue as that film’s scriptwriter Ken Nolan has worked with Robert Port on the screenplay.

McConaughey, Worthington and Butler will play soldiers in a tank who are part of the effort by American forces to capture the city in 2003. “What we capture in our cameras will be them,” Freedom Film’s Brian Presley tells the Heat Vision Blog. “It’ll have a stylized effect to it but we are shooting them. We’re not ageing them down like Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy, it’ll be them for two hours in a highly intense tank battle. The scope of the movie is going to feel huge and the goal is to appeal to the Call Of Duty world. It’s not going to have a video game world feel but to have a stylized look to it.”

The plan is to shoot the footage next year using a combination of the facial capture software used in West’s zombie outing with Avatar’s performance capture tech. Wonder if Worthington will be teaching seminars on how to adapt to it?