They’re faster. They’re stronger. They’re more organised.
They’re zombies in Army of the Dead, a heist-meets-zombies movie. Set in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries is tasked with retrieving $200 million sitting in a notoriously impenetrable vault, but that’s hardly the half of it. They only have 32 hours to pull it off before the city is nuked by the government. Why? Because it’s infested with zombies, as described above. Throw in a father-daughter-centred theme, the “team” who are all experts in their own way, and plenty of zombies, and the result is 2 hours and 28 minutes of high stakes. We got to take part in a press conference with Zack Snyder, who wrote and directed the story, and this is what we’ve learned about it!
1) Zack Snyder Came Up With the Story of Army of the Dead Right After Dawn of the Dead
Joby, a writer, wrote the script for another director initially, and it got kicked around for a while. They couldn’t get the budget right, and later on Warner Brothers still didn’t want to do it. Finally, Zack Snyder talked to Netflix, who said, “That sounds amazing,” and “go do that.” However, since the script wasn’t written for Zack himself to direct, he decided to write it himself again, partnering with Shay, another writer. They wrote it pretty quickly, and shot it thereafter.
2) You’ll See A New Side of Dave Bautista
Dave Bautista, former pro wrestler, mixed martial artist, and bodybuilder, is no stranger to action roles. In fact, when Zack called him up, he said he “wasn’t sure”, because he didn’t really want to do another action thing. After reading the script, he changed his mind. Dave realised that his character had an emotional journey to go through, and Zack said that Dave does an amazing job at playing a really broken character that wants to reconnect with his daughter. Definitely not the usual strong and funny character we associate with Dave Bautista in this one!
3) It’s Based On Original IP
There are plenty of zombie movies and shows out there, with zombie pop culture peaking in the early 2010s or so. If you’re asking, what sets it apart from other zombie movies or shows out there, it’s that this is based on original IP–even Dawn of the Dead was based on another film. Zack started and created a new world from scratch, and for the audience, “you’re going to get to just sort of go into a zombie world that you’ve never seen before.”
4) Zack Snyder Makes A Cameo!
In order to catch Zack himself, you’d have to keep your eyes peeled, and be really observant. Or watch it over and over again till you notice him. It’s a very tricky moment in a mirror, and only for a few frames. See if you can spot him in it when you watch it!
5) It’s Made for the TV, and Zack Wanted to Make a Big, Giant Movie Regardless
Zack Snyder has mostly worked on blockbuster action movies designed for the full theatrical experience, but under current circumstances, online streaming has definitely taken over. Even with this shift, Zack hasn’t changed his process in creating films. He knew that Army of the Dead was going to be made for Netflix, while the theatre release is a recent evolution. Basically, it has the quality and feeling of a movie (like in the theatres), but “you’re getting it at home, day one, when it comes out.”
6) Zack Drew On His Own Experiences for the Father-Daughter Relationship in the Movie
The movie has the father-daughter relationship at its core, and it evolved as Zack Snyder evolved. He drew on his own experience with his own children, and said that children can bring you your greatest joy, sorrow, pain, highs, lows… so he brought all of that to the movie and the father-daughter relationship.
7) Zack Thinks the “I Am Legend” Creatures Are Pretty Scary, But…
Army of the Dead has zombie tigers and zombie horses. When asked to rank these zombies in the entire ecosystem of zombie pop culture, Zack said that the “I Am Legend” zombies? Vampires? are pretty scary to him, though Zeus the zombie leader in this movie is pretty scary, as is the zombie queen and the zombie general. Zack thinks that you can’t beat them in a fight, and also that “on a long enough timeline, nobody survives these guys.”
8) There’s A Fan Event Happening Later On!
On Thursday, 13 May @ 10am PST // Friday, 14 May @ 1am MYT, Netflix will host a global livestream event where fans can tune-in live to unlock the first 15 Minutes of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. The livestream will feature special appearances by director Zack Snyder and stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Tig Notaro and more, this live reveal will have fans (literally) digging for a sneak peek of Zack Snyder’s zombie heist flick. Once unlocked, audiences will have a 32-hour window to watch the unforgettable beginning of Army of The Dead on the Netflix YouTube channel, the same amount of time that Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his crew have to break into zombie-infested Las Vegas to retrieve the $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy the trailer first:
We’ll see you there, and Army of the Dead will be available on Netflix on 21st May 2021!