Red Dawn Director May Have Found a New Calling in Videogames


More than one Hollywood figure has tried their hand at videogames, but one in particular might be uniquely suited to the medium.

The links between movies and videogames are often somewhat tenuous, as the skill set required to be a successful developer isn’t the same as the skills needed to be a successful filmmaker, and vice versa. Some people are able to straddle both disciplines however, and in Issue 296 of The Escapist, Bob Chipman profiles John Millius, a screenwriter and director who’s recently lent his talents to something a little more interactive.

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.

Aside from the films he has written and directed, Millius was a key figure behind the scenes in Hollywood, and helped to shape the course of classic films like Jaws and Star Wars. You can read more about it in Chipman’s article, “On the Front Lines.”

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