Leonardo DiCaprio to Remake WarGames?

by Joey Paur


As you may have heard Leonardo DiCaprio and his production company have taken on films to produce such as 'Akira', 'Ninja Scroll', and the story of Atari. It looks like we can add another remake to their list of film productions, the classic 1983 sci-fi hacker flick 'Wargames'. Man, does that movie really take me back. I loved that movie when I was a kid! This was the movie that made me want a computer that I could mess around, and save the world with. This is one of those hard core geek flicks that you just can't help but love, especially these days, because you can look back at it and realize how far we have come from the 1200 baud modem which was fast for it's time, and capable of destroying the world? I don't think a remake will have the same type of effect the original did. It will probably end up being something like 'Live Free or Die Hard'.

If you don't remember, Wargames is about a young computer whizz kid played by Matthew Broderick who accidentally hacks into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3.

While we are on the subject of 'Wargames' I might as well take this time to share some interesting facts about the original film that are pretty fun because of how oldschool it is.

  • The studio had a Galaga and a Galaxian machine delivered to Matthew Broderick's home, where he practiced for two months to prepare for the arcade scene.

  • The computer used to break into NORAD was programmed to make the correct words appear on the screen, no matter which keys were pressed.


  • The NORAD command center built for the movie was the most expensive set ever constructed up to that time, built at the cost of one million dollars. The producers were not allowed into the actual NORAD command center, so they had to imagine what it was like. In the DVD commentary, director John Badham notes that the actual NORAD command center isn't nearly as elaborate as the one in the movie; he refers to the movie set as "NORAD's wet dream of itself."

  • During their extensive research for the film, writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes made friends with many 'hackers' and security experts. They later wrote Sneakers (1992) another film featuring 'hackers' and security experts.

  • The dual 8-inch floppy drive is an IMSAI FDC-2, the monitor is a 17-inch Electrohome, the keyboard is an IMSAI IKB-1, and the 1200 baud modem (on top of the monitor) is a Cermetek 212A relabeled with the name "IMSAI". The acoustic coupler prop was added for visual effect only.

  • The writers' main inspiration for the character of Professor Stephen Falken was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn't want the producers exploiting his disability.

  • The part of Prof. Falken was originally written with the idea of John Lennon playing the part.

  • The computer in David's room is actually an IMSAI 8080. The person who supplied the computer for the film tells how Matthew Broderick saved a shooting day by figuring out a programming sequence for the keyboard on his own after instructions were lost.

  • The WOPR, as seen in the movie, was made of wood and painted with a metal-finish paint. As the crew filmed the displays of the WOPR, Special Effects Supervisor Michael L. Fink sat inside and entered information into an Apple II computer that drove the countdown display.

  • Graphics on the large NORAD war room screens were rendered in advance by an HP 9845C desktop computer running BASIC. In 1982 the 9845C was comprised of a base with built-in keyboard and a 14" color monitor that mounted on top. Cost of a 9845C was about $90,000 (inflation-adjusted) and the entire "desktop" computer weighed about 100 pounds. The computer's resolution was not good enough to project on a large screen or to be filmed from directly, so a high-resolution monochromatic display was connected. The images were filmed from the display, one frame at a time, one color at a time, using filters for red, green, and blue. The process took about 1 minute per frame of film.

  • A video game version of this movie was made in 1984 for the ColecoVision, Commodore 64 and Atari 8-Bit Computer. The game started out greeting you as Professor Falken and you would play a game of Global Thermonuclear War. Your objective was to stop nuclear war from occurring by protecting the country with various military vehicles and weapons in a set time limit without reaching Defcon 1.

Source: /Film Via Production Weekly

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