The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud follows plucky 16-year-old gamer Sarah (Isabelle Allen) and her misadventures as she accidentally becomes a character in her favourite video game. Taking on the avatar of Jake (Elliot James Langridge, Peripheral), she teams up with kickass action hero Max Cloud (Scott Adkins, Accident Man), and his trusty side-kicks as they do battle to save the world. Will they finish the game… or is Sarah destined to remain a 16-bit character forever?
Directed by Martin Owen (Let’s Be Evil, Twist) who co-wrote the movie with Sally Collett (Twist), The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud also stars John Hannah (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), Tommy Flanagan (Westworld) and Franz Drameh (Legends Of Tomorrow).
Paying homage to movies of the Eighties and early Ninetie, The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud is full of action and sci-fi fun. We spoke to Elliot James Langridge about nostalgia, playing a 16-year-old girl and martial arts…
How did you first get involved in The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud?
I’ve worked with the director, Martin Owen, a few times. We met about six years ago and it was one of the first auditions I ever did where I didn’t have to read any lines. So immediately I liked him a lot [haha] and we’ve been good mates ever since.
He keeps me in the loop with various projects that he’s getting off the ground and this was one of them. It was quite last minute but he basically gave me the rough premise that it was someone getting sucked into a computer game and it was set in the late Eighties/early Nineties and I was like: “Oh, that sounds really cool!” I just love that era because I was born in the late Eighties. I enjoy the films and the music [from that era], so I was excited at that prospect.
Martin basically said to me: “I haven’t really fleshed out the characters. I’m trying to figure it out. I want you to be in this, but I haven’t pinpointed which part yet. Is there a type of character you’d like to play?” Which is obviously very flattering when a writer asks you something like that! So I just said to him: “Anything that I haven’t done before, something really off the wall. A bit wacky…” and this being a comedy was a first for me as well. So I just said to him: “The madder the better, I just want to play a different character. I want to do something I haven’t done!”
So then he wrote me in as essentially a 16-year-old girl stuck in a computer games character’s body! I was like: “Wow, you really went for it when I said something a bit different!!” But it’s a great part to play, something that I never really thought I’d get the chance to play.
Speaking of which, how did you prepare for playing a 16-year-old girl?!
Basically, Isabelle [who plays Sarah] was cast halfway through filming so I didn’t know when we started who was going to be the character I’m playing, which was unfortunate. I wanted to originally really do my homework on that person and then get their mannerisms down and make it as believable as possible, but unfortunately there just wasn’t the time for that. But Isabelle is someone I’ve worked with before and as soon as I knew she was playing the character, I couldn’t obviously change what I was doing, but I could then start leaning more towards what I thought her movements would be.
It’s a great part, it’s something that I never really thought I’d get to play. It was a strange one. It’s not an ‘oh it’s this sort of part, I’ll do it like this’. It’s a bit off the wall [but] it gave me an excuse to watch a lot of physical comedies like The Mask [and other] Jim Carrey films where he does some crazy movements, as well as Jumanji because obviously there’s a parallel [between Max Cloud] and Jack Black and his character. So I watched those to kind of try and get comedy timing. Always borrow from the best!
What can audiences expect from Max Cloud?
I think it’s a real Marmite film. Someone like my dad would watch this film and would be like “what?” because it’s not his era. I think if you were born in the Eighties and I’m not completely pining it down to that, but I think that is the key demographic for this film. If you’ve got nostalgia for the Eighties and the Nineties and you used to play those games as a kid, I think this film is a real blast. It’s fun and after the year we’ve had I think it’s just a lighthearted bit of fun really!
We really enjoyed the nostalgic soundtrack…
Yeah, the soundtrack’s great. I loved it, it’s so so Eighties – lots of synth! I keep on going on the Instagram for Max Cloud. They keep doing little clips of the film and you can choose your character and it goes into the game and you’ve got the music. That was the first time I heard the music before I watched the film and I was like ‘I really recognise this, it feels familiar’ because it’s so nostalgic!
What was it like taking on the comedy elements in Max Cloud?
I’ve done a lot of dramas, but my mum’s always told me I’m funny! [laughs]. She’s always said to me: “Why have you not done a comedy? You’re always doing these really depressing films!” So this was a chance for me to sort of hark back to when I was at school when I used to do a bit more comedy.
It was a little bit daunting [too] because once something is on film it’s there forever. Hopefully I do that part justice but it was just a lot of fun.
A lot of Jake’s movements, especially during the fight scenes, mimic the robotic movements from retro videogames, how did you prepare for those scenes?
Martin loves all that sort of stuff and if we ever had any questions, he was the one to ask about that. From my childhood, I remember a lot of the Super Nintendo, N64 and Gameboy [games]. [The game in Max Cloud] kind of reminds me of a game called Streets Of Rage, where those characters move in a certain way and it’s almost like they’re stuck on a grid.
We had a great stunt team who have done loads of amazing martial arts films. You want the fight scenes to be exciting but at the same time you want the characters to almost be limited by the game that they’re in. I think that was something that a lot of people have enjoyed. I’ve noticed a few people mentioned that there’s a lot of nice little Easter Eggs in there for people that do enjoy those old school computer games. So I think they did a pretty good job of giving it a little nod.
What was it like being turned into a videogame character?
Oh, it’s cool! I really had to fight the urge to not put it as my profile picture! Yeah amazing. It’s funny because if the film had a bigger budget film and they wanted to do sequels, it would have been really interesting to see what they would do if they made a real game because they’ve done a very good job on creating that world and making it very believable.
There is an epic fight scene between you and John Hannah’s character Revengor in the movie, what was that like to shoot?
That final scene is a lot! It’s all pretty much green screen and obviously, we needed an excuse for John Hannah to not have to do all the stunts because the guy’s go to do backflips and things like that. So they put a massive helmet on him! So I was actually fighting a stunt guy when we were doing all those scenes – sorry John Hannah I’ve given away the fact that that wasn’t him doing that [haha]! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a helmet so I had to do it myself, but it was really good fun. I’ve never done many physical stunts, so it was really really good fun!
We knew it was going to be at the end of the shoot, which always as an actor makes you think: ‘Is this going to be dangerous? Am I going to get hurt?’ and obviously not but it was a lot of wire work which I hadn’t done before. It was really cool to learn to do those sorts of things. I’ve recently started doing martial arts as well, so it was kind of nice to then go to work and then learn a new aspect of martial arts with the stunt team.
So you had some experience with martial arts…?
I started martial arts about eight years ago, but I’ve been kind of jumping around finding out what my martial arts is really. I started with Krav Maga, and then moved on to jujitsu, and now I’m doing Brazilian jujitsu. I go to a great place in Wandsworth called Flow. But it’s brilliant and I’ve really got into that.
By the time we did Max Cloud a couple of years ago now I’d done a bit of jujitsu and I’d also filmed a documentary with Martin where I was doing a charity MMA fight. I was just doing it because it was a charity event. It was a challenge; something to do in between jobs and get beaten up! Martin’s really into MMA and he’s got some experience in boxing so I rang him up to get advice like ‘is this a stupid thing to do?’ and he’s like: “Yeah, it’s really stupid. In fact, hang on, give me a second, can I call you back in a minute?” Then when he calls be he’s like: “Right, if you’re up for it, do you mind if we do a documentary? And film you training? Basically, it’s going to be like this idiot normal guy thinks that he can go from zero to in four-five weeks going to have an MMA fight!” and I was like: “Okay, yeah, fine!”
We ended up shooting a documentary that is yet to be released, but it’s basically the journey of me trying to learn enough to win this fight in four or five weeks from my little knowledge of martial arts.
We did all of that before Max Cloud, so I feel like maybe Martin was like: “Oh, Elliot’s done a bit [of fight training] now, enough that if we did this film he’s kind of got shorthand to learning the choreography!”
You just never know what these things will bring. The documentary was great fun [but] it was terrifying. Filming Max Cloud was great because I didn’t actually have to get hurt, which was nice!
The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud is released on digital on 18 January 2021, alongside DVD and Blu-ray formats, courtesy of 101 Films and (Yet) Another Distribution Company. (Main image credit: MARK BARNFIELD).