"I realized that I would probably live past 26, and I'd never considered that." - John Milius, 2003
Portrait of a young man who knows exactly where his life is going.
It is the 1970s, and the young man lives and works in a manner that is at once deliberate and determined; devouring life both as dedicated surfer, outdoorsman and firearm-enthusiast and a voracious student of film, literature and history - one of that lost breed of warrior-philosophers who would ride a wave with the same dedication with which they'd shoot down a target... or recite from memory grand tales of history and myth.
He lives this way, in part, because he believes he has already charted the course and endgame of his life. He will live youth fully and completely, so that he may be ready and prepared for his greater dream - to enlist in the United States Marines, and have a proud warrior's career (or a proud warrior's death) in the jungles of Vietnam.
But then, the young man finds that the path he had charted is unexpectedly blocked. He has asthma, and will not be permitted to enlist in the armed services. No proud career of combat or glorious pass to Valhalla awaits him, and instead of beginning the climax of his story he now faces - perhaps for the first time - the prospect of a long life stretching out in front of him. A long life he neither sought nor planned. If this were you, what would you do? How would you react? Where would you go?
John Milius went to Hollywood.
To movie fans, especially those reared on the major American productions of the 70s and 80s, the now 66 year-old Milius is a figure of legend and infamy. Some gamers, however, may only recently have become aware of him as one of the most prominent Hollywood professionals to get newly involved in the games industry. He's contributed to the Medal of Honor series in the recent past, but 2011 will see his biggest gaming project to date: Kaos Studios' Homefront, a shooter set amid a theoretical near-future occupation of the United States by a nuclear-armed North Korea, boasts Milius as a credited writer, story consultant, and author of the game's official novelization. It's hard to imagine an established figure as perfectly suited to inhabit both the movie and gaming world at the same time.
Naturally, the first and quickest rationale for Milius' involvement in Homefront is the game's obvious similarity to one of his most famous films, 1984's Red Dawn, in which American high schoolers form a guerilla militia to wage insurgent war against an occupying Soviet army. At the time best known for being the first film released with the new PG-13 rating (it held a Guinness World Record for acts of violence: 2.23 per minute!) it's become a cult classic and a particular favorite of many military personnel: When the U.S. 4th Infantry Division in Iraq rooted-out and captured Saddam Hussein, they did so under the name Operation Red Dawn.