God of War Ragnarök ad sees Ben Stiller channel Kratos – Entertainment Weekly News

No one would give berserker brute Kratos from the God of War video games a father of the year award… except for maybe these celebrities.
Ben Stiller, John Travolta, LeBron James, and their kids star in a new comedic ad for the franchise's latest entry, God of War Ragnarök, that EW can exclusively reveal. The celebrities — featuring Stiller in full Kratos costume and makeup — use the complex father-son relationship between the game's lead characters, Kratos and Atreus, as the model to better their own parent-child bonds.
"When we go to market with a massive title like God of War Ragnarök, it's a company-wide effort," Eric Lempel, SVP, Global Head of Marketing with Sony Interactive Entertainment, tells EW. "The title is a beloved franchise that is representative of the PlayStation brand and has continued to excite millions of fans over the years. To launch the latest installment we wanted to take an innovative approach that combined both traditional and non-traditional routes; I challenged our team to come up with new strategies to take this title to the market."
The result, Lempel adds, is "a Super Bowl-level spot" conceived by part of SIE's global marketing team.
God of War Ragnarök (available for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles Nov. 9), the sequel to 2018's God of War, continues the story of Kratos (voiced by Christopher Judge), the reformed God of War, and his arrow-slinging son Atreus (Sunny Suljic) as they face the pantheon of Norse deities.
As Asgard prepares for a prophesied war-to-end-everything, which may involve Atreus if the predictions hold true, Kratos must make impossible choices or risk losing Atreus altogether.
Stiller takes that concept and leads a support group session with his son Quin, Travolta and his daughter Ella, and James and his son Bronny in the sketch. "The God of War dynamic plays out in every parent-child relationship," Stiller says in the ad. "When that clicked for me, I picked up my leviathan axe and felt truly close to my son for the first time."
"I'm 17," Quin responds.
Stiller confirms "there was a little improv" in making the ad. "I have to say trying to make LeBron James laugh was fun — and he loves to improv also," the Zoolander and Tropic Thunder actor says. "So he was making me laugh too. There was a bit about his headband he came up with and since we don't really know each other, and I didn't know his sense of humor, it was fun to see that he enjoyed that and played off it. Felt the same with John Travolta — both iconic figures — and John really plays in the moment. It was great to have a chance to act with him, since I have been a fan forever."
"This shoot was so much fun," James agrees. "I don't think I've laughed that much on set, ever."
"I can relate to Kratos in a lot of ways, especially in this father-son narrative," the sports star adds. "You try to be confident and strong and make it seem like you have it all figured out, but in reality, you're just doing your best and learning as you go. With Bronny being my oldest, he's taught me so much about fatherhood and about myself. It was great to have a little fun with that dynamic here."
Travolta notes, "Our children were hilarious in their very dry reaction to their parents being over-enthusiastic towards the game and that made me laugh on and off camera."
Lempel feels fortunate to have this caliber of talent wanting to work with Sony for the spot. And with a number of video games now being adapted into TV shows and films — including God of War — he says, "It's long overdue for Hollywood to recognize the power, depth, and complex stories that exist within interactive entertainment."
"Video games have some of the most iconic characters that people around the world have grown to love, relate to, and want to see more of," Lempel continues. "Most of our characters have deep and complex narratives. With technological advancements, it's incredible to see how these stories, when given the respect and care they deserve, translate to traditional films and television."
Stiller jokes that he learned some valuable lessons about parenting from Kratos and Atreus. "Buy a leviathan axe immediately and bring it anytime I want my son to do anything. And perhaps consider shaving my head and growing a Norse beard to instill a little more fear in my son, who now is taller than me and not impressed with anything I say," he says.
On a more serious note, he mentions of filming the ad with Quin, "It was actually a really great bonding experience and I was happy it was fun for all of us. I think as your kids get older, the more experiences you can share end up meaning a lot — especially if they actually want to hang out with you. I'm not a hunter, but this made me want to learn how to track animals and make fires and go rough it in the wilderness with Quin. Or at least go on a walk through Central Park sometime."
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