Behind the Scenes - Creating Wrestle Jam in The Wrestler
The film The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky starring Mickey Rourke, who was recently robbed of a 2009 Academy Award (reviewed here) features a poignant moment between Randy and his young buddy Adam who drops by to visit 'The Ram' and play video games with him.
The scene in the movie has the two characters playing an eighties gaming console most will remember as the 8-bit NES or Nintendo Entertainment System. The game Wrestle Jam is based on Acclaim Entertainment's WWF Wrestlemania which was released in 1988.
The scene shows Randy's inability to move on from the past as young Adam talks about Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox. As Randy pins Adam who is playing as The Ayatollah with a Ram Jam from the top rope he leaves Randy to finish playing on his dual buttoned controller on his 20+ year old games console.
The Wrestling game was created just for the scene by Motion Graphics artist Kristyn Hume and Programmer Randall Furino. The brother and sister duo created the game as well as the title sequence. The game however was laboured over for weeks.
"Darren is a little bit unconventional," Kristyn Hume shared stating that the director wanted a fully functioning demo for Mickey Rourke and John D' Leo to interact with. "It ended up being a working game. He wanted the actors to be able to play the game instead of them trying to act like they were playing. I didn't want to hand animate the entire game because it would be way too time consuming," Hume said.
Programmer of the Wrestle Jam demo Randall Furino added "I believe the movie would have been amazing without the game but I do like to think that my sister and I added a little something special. It was great that Aronofsky chose to go the route of creating an actual game and I'm really grateful to him and my sister for the opportunity."
Robert Bowling from Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward added "We were totally unaware that Call of Duty 4 was going to be referenced in The Wrestler pre-release" he also shared "We got word of it before it went public, due to one of our guys getting into an early screening of the film and seeing the reference. Other than that, it was a total surprise to us."
The Wrestler was released in the UK on January 16 2009 and is released on DVD June 1st.
Quotes taken from kotaku.com