Zack Snyder made big waves this year with the release of his cut of 2017's Justice League in March. Now, he is about to make more with his R-rated zombie heist movie with Netflix.
Army Of The Dead centres around a group of mercenaries who take the ultimate gamble. Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, they venture into a quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
The film features a diverse cast – starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, and Tig Notaro.
In a recent virtual press conference, Snyder revealed to us some pretty interesting details about the movie, including his secret cameo
"If you're super observant. It's a very tricky moment. But I'm in there," Snyder teased.
When coaxed further for details, he says it's in a mirror and he is seen operating a camera.
"It's only for a few frames but it's in there, for sure. We were going to take it and I was like, 'Oh, leave it. It's good'."
While it's not exactly a cameo, eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot him at the beginning of the film.
The director also revealed that he came up with the storyline for Army Of The Dead right after his 2004 film debut, Dawn Of The Dead
He collaborated with writer Joby Harold to work on the script when he had the idea. Initially, there were no plans for Snyder to direct the film. "We had another director and then, we couldn't get the budget right," he said.
So, Snyder's zombie heist idea spent years in development hell since it was first announced in 2007, until he met up with Netflix and mentioned it.
"And they were like, 'That sounds amazing'," he said.
Knowing he was going to direct, Snyder reworked the completed script from scratch as he wanted it to be written for him to direct.
He explained, "If I'm the director, I kind of want to write it myself and so I got Shay (Hatten) to partner with me and we wrote the script and we went right away and shot it."
Snyder did not only write and direct the film, but he also shot it
He said, "These lenses that I wanted to use on the movie had an incredibly thin depth of field and are really difficult to shoot with. I wanted to do the whole thing with organic lightning and shoot at very specific times of the day. A ballsy approach that I felt if the studio saw and if it wasn't working, the Director of Photography (DP) could get in a lot of trouble. So, I felt like what I was asking would be unfair to bring someone in and really impose all these parameters on them."
And so, Snyder decided it would be much easier if he did it himself.
Dave Bautista, who plays the central character Scott Ward, didn't really want to do another action movie. But after reading the script, he jumped at the opportunity.
Zack Snyder: "He wasn't sure because he's like, 'Yeah, I don't really want to do another action thing.' I go, 'Read the script.' And after he read it, he called me and said, 'I didn't realise that I had a huge emotional journey to go through.' And I said, 'Yes. It's really a big deal. Scott's journey is really an emotional journey.'"
Snyder said he chose Bautista because he sensed a vulnerability in him, and believed he would do an amazing job playing a really broken character who wants to reconnect with this daughter.
So, what sets Snyder's version of zombies apart from the other zombie apocalypse films?
"A lot" is his answer!
However, more than anything, he said that this is based on original intellectual property (IP), so he could create a world from scratch.
Movie-goers who are familiar with the zombie genre would definitely see that even in the trailer, Snyder's zombies aren't the typical ones they are used to seeing.
With zombie tigers and horses, as well as a zombie king and queen, Snyder definitely stirs things up and gives more depth to what we know of the living dead.
A film prequel and an anime series are already in the works
Netflix revealed in September 2020 that Zack Snyder's zombie action heist film is already spawning a film prequel and anime series. Shay Hatten, who wrote the Army Of The Dead screenplay, will be writing for the prequel as well as the anime series.
Zack Snyder teased, "Wait till you see the animated prequel, that we're also working on. That tells the origin story of the zombies. You won't be disappointed. We're drawing it right now, so it's coming."
Hang tight, guys. Snyder's zombie universe is just beginning.
If you're excited about the film's release, Netflix is hosting a global livestream event where fans can tune in to unlock the first 15 minutes of the film
The livestream, which will be streamed on Netflix's YouTube channel, will feature special appearances by director Zack Snyder and the cast - Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Tig Notaro, and more.
Set a reminder and watch it here.