Dead Rising Movie Is "Indiana Jones With Zombies"; Cast Revealed

Director Zach Lipovsky also says skipping theatrical release means the film won't be a "watered down" action movie starring Tom Cruise.

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The upcoming Dead Rising movie from Warcraft and Godzilla studio Legendary Pictures is aiming to be, tonally, "Indiana Jones with zombies." That's according to the movie's director, Zach Lipovsky (Leprechaun: Origins), who spoke at length about the movie--called Dead Rising: Watchtower--in a new interview with /Film.

"I really like the tone of the game. It's definitely got its dark, scary beats, but ultimately it's an adventure film," he said. "Every time I get scared or laugh while playing, I make a note to add it to the script. Tonally it will be like 'Indiana Jones with zombies.' Fun, scary, dramatic action."

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Concerning its story, Watchtower is not a direct adaption of any of the previous Dead Rising games. However, though the game is set during a new zombie outbreak with new heroes, the movie does fit into the canon of the overall Dead Rising storyline, Lipovsky said.

"It takes place between the Fortune City outbreak in Dead Rising 2 and Los Perdidos outbreak from Dead Rising 3," he said. "So it's a part of the greater franchise narrative. Of course some familiar faces show up as well."

Asked which characters might appear in Watchtower, Lipovsky teased that we might get to see Frank West. "I can't reveal too much, but the character has covered wars, you know," he said.

One of the reasons Lipovsky was attracted to Dead Rising was because he says it "brings a lot of new energy" to the zombie genre. One thing in particular is the idea that when you're bitten by a zombie, you can remain human as long as you take medicine every day. This idea is "very interesting and dramatic," he said, likening it to "the social stigma of living with HIV."

Watchtower is skipping a theatrical release and will debut on Sony's Crackle streaming service before coming to other streaming sites and eventually DVD. Some fans were critical of this decision, brushing the movie off because of its smaller scope. But actually, Lipovsky says, with less money comes the freedom to be more experimental.

"Online there is no ratings board, there is no run time limit, there are no rules," he said. "This is an experiment for Legendary (which is producing the movie through its Legendary Digital Media offshoot), and they have been incredibly willing to take creative risks. Every crazy idea I've had has been met with excitement."

Lipovsky went on to say that if Watchtower were to be a big-studio production, with a $100 million budget, many creative sacrifices would have to be made so that Legendary could position it as a film for the masses.

"I have a feeling that if this was the 100+ million dollar version, it would star Tom Cruise and be watered down," he said. "The more money you spend, the greater the audience you have to please. This film is being made for the fans and that's possible because it's a digital feature."

On Crackle, you'll be able to watch the 90-minute movie in its entirety in one shot. But on other platforms, Watchtower will be released episodically, thanks to a script mechanic Lipovsky and his team created to break up each episode. "I think in this day and age you basically have to just let the viewer decide what they prefer," Lipovsky said.

Shooting for Watchtower began this week, though a release date has not been announced. The cast was also recently announced, and you can see it below, per /Film.

  • Jesse Metcalfe -- (John Tucker Must Die, Desperate Housewives, Dallas)
  • Meghan Ory -- (Once Upon A Time, Intelligence)
  • Virginia Madsen -- (Sideways, Candyman, The Number 23)
  • Dennis Haysbert -- (24, The Unit)
  • Keegan Connor Tracy -- (Bates Motel, Once Upon A Time, Battlestar Galactica)

The Dead Rising movie is one of many video game movies currently in development. Ubisoft has a total of six films in the pipeline, including movies based on Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, and Splinter Cell. Meanwhile, Sony is making a Last of Us movie, Konami is moving forward on a film based on Metal Gear Solid, Blizzard Entertainment has its Warcraft movie, and an Angry Birds film is scheduled for 2016. And just recently, the next Resident Evil movie was delayed because lead actress Milla Jovovich is having a baby.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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