Zack Snyder‘s first big success was 2004’s hit remake Dawn of the Dead, and he returns to the genre — and has a far bigger budget to play with — in the zombies-in-Vegas film Army of the Dead.
It debuts today on Netflix.
Army of the Dead imagines a military operation going wrong on the outskirts of Sin City, and accidentally unleashing a zombie plague the city. The military steps in, and manages to lock down a ravaged Vegas, creating a quarantine zone, and hatches plans to nuke the place clean.
Dave Bautista‘s military veteran Scott Ward is soon approached by a wealthy casino owner to raise a team and free a massive cache of cash from one of the doomed casinos and get out before the fireworks start.
Snyder tells ABC Audio he enjoyed having a much bigger sandbox than Dawn of the Dead. “I thought that that kind of is what I needed from it, was the scale…”
He adds, “It was fun to get to destroy Las Vegas, and it was also fun to get to kind of walk through the ruins.”
Zack’s producer and wife Deborah Snyder says of the experience, “It was amazing and without Netflix, this this film wouldn’t be here today, because we tried for years to get it made and this was like the right time and the right place to get it made.”
She adds, “Then once we were in production, I mean, Zack wanted to rewrite the script, but they wanted us to be shooting. So they had so much faith in us that they let us start prepping even when we were developing the script. And all along the way, they’ve just been really supportive.”
Although the film is obviously a fiction, one element of the movie, which was filmed before the pandemic, turned out to be eerily prescient, Zack Snyder says.
In the movie, its characters use temperature guns to ensure people haven’t “turned” into the undead. Fast-forward to today, when temperature guns are commonplace on movie sets and elsewhere, thanks to COVID-19.
“We were surprised,” Zack admitted. “When Theo [Rossi] did that scene…he was like, ‘How do I use this thing? He goes, ‘Do I point it at the forehead or like — where –?"” Zack recalls with a laugh.
“And then I saw him the other day. We’re like, ‘Dude, I’ve got a temperature gun pointed at me like every day for the last year since you shot that!"” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
“So it’s pretty crazy,” Snyder laughs.
Army of the Dead also stars Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Garret Dillahunt, and Ella Purnell.
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