"Noah's Ark, but all the animals become zombies"
Superhero fatigue may or may not be finally setting in, but if there’s one genre that really has an overpopulation problem, it's zombies. Think of the amount of zombie films that have come out since George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead--and that's not to mention the TV shows, books, comics, video games, and more.
Once you start looking at zombie films, you realize how similar most of them are--there’s an epidemic, people get infected, survivors try to survive--the end. And most stories about zombies have been contemporary (save the rare example like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). Sure, they change the formula a bit--a zombie comedy in Shaun of the Dead, a zombie Christmas musical in Anna and the Apocalypse--but there's a whole lot of homogeny among the undead masses.
Overlord is doing something different: A mixture of Saving Private Ryan and Re-Animator set a day before D-Day in 1944. During a press day for the film after its world premiere at Fantastic Fest, GameSpot spoke with the cast and director of Overlord about where the zombie genre can go next: How do you possibly spice things up enough to beat the ultimate pairing of Nazi zombies?
Star Wyatt Russell was the first one to answer, and Hollywood would do well to listen up. “The Crusades, no question. Just think about it,” said Russell, who plays Ford, the leader of a group of soldiers who encounter an evil Nazi experiment.
“What about Noah’s Ark?” Iain de Caestecker, who plays Chase, chimed in.
“That’s actually a good idea,” responded Russell. “Noah’s Ark, but all the animals turn into zombies, so Noah has to fight them. I’m sure I just offended like half the country. Don’t make this movie, but if you do, I want in.”
“That’s the beauty about zombies,” said John Magaro, who plays comic relief character Tibbet. “You can put them pretty much everywhere. Like, I want to see what a Confucius movie would look like with zombies.”
We don’t know about you, but those are some solid ideas. However, a zombie film would be nothing without a group of survivors. For Overlord, in order to build camaraderie and a good dynamic between the actors, they had to go through boot camp.
“Right after we got out of the plane they put bags over our heads,” explained Russell. “Then they took us way out in the forest and left us for four days. The first thing they told us to do was build a tent, and none of us know each other. It felt like a reality show.”
“That really helped us bond,” said Magaro. “While the others built the tent I basically would stand right there and just pick up little twigs for the fire. We quickly found the natural rhythms with each other and our characters, and the natural banter we did during that camp translated into the screen.”
“They tried to make the experience similar to Band of Brothers, even though we only had about a third of the time to train,” said Jovan Adepo, who plays the film’s main character, the young and idealistic Private Boyce. “They had us train in navigation, we built fires, eat rations. By the end we could reload a weapon in our sleep.”
On his time period of choice for a zombie film? “I feel like any time period would be fun. Zombies just ramp up the stakes very quickly," Adepo said. "But I would love to see a Shakespearean zombie film.”
Overlord hits theaters November 9.
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