In addition to our meeting with Heavy Rain PS3 creator and Quantic Dream CEO David Cage earlier this week (click here for the our exclusive interview) , zavvi.com were also invited to the exclusive London premiere screening of a new short film, “How Far Would You Go For Love?” at Notting Hill’s lavish Electric cinema.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker and playwright Neil LaBute, the film was devised and created to coincide with the release of Heavy Rain PS3, and asks a number of prominent and highly regarded artists – amongst them Samuel L Jackson, Stephen Frears, Jean Marc Barr and Peter Bogdanovich – how far they have gone, and potentially would go, for love in their own lives.

After the screening, a panel discussion took place on the cinema’s stage featuring LaBute, Nic Roeg, David Cage and Skins star Nicholas Hoult, who all featured in the film itself. Alongside ruminations on the arresting central question that both the film and the game pose, the panel also discussed LaBute’s sometime preference for the less manipulative medium of theatre; how Roeg once planned to create a cinema with buttons attached to the seats, thereby giving his audience the chance to vote and determine the end of a film; and how Hoult, much to the amusement of the audience, made a flippantly blackhearted decision whilst playing Heavy Rain, simply to witness the outcome.

Cage was also drawn into a discussion about how seriously he thinks players will take the moral choices that Heavy Rain poses, which led to an anecdote about one of the game’s testers, who suffered a mild panic attack when placed in a kill-or-be-killed situation within the game. During the Heavy Rain’s testing stages, Cage revealed that 85% of all the people put in that same life-or-death situation, chose almost immediately not to take another’s life.

All of this – the decision to make a contemplative tie-in short film, to hire Neil LaBute to direct it, to hold a glitzy Notting Hill premiere, featuring a reflective panel discussion – all of this is unashamedly highbrow, and with excellent reason. If, as David Cage himself told us earlier this week, videogames are seen by the majority of people as “toys for teenagers”, then this mildly ‘arthouse’ tack represents a deadly serious and high-minded attempt to change that perception. Hopefully Sony have laid a significant piece of groundwork for other publishers to build on in the future.

Regardless of how others engineer those foundations, some of the attendees of the premiere garnered a fair and welcome share of mainstream press attention. Spotted at the event were the likes of Nick Moran, Hanif Kureishi, Chrissie Hynde and Lindsay Lohan, many of whom stayed on after the film to watch a special screening of Nic Roeg’s classic 60’s mind-bender Performance.

Watch the How Far Would You Go For Love? short film here…

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Team Zavvi

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