If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that earlier this week I flew to New Orleans to be a zombie in a movie. That film is Dead of Night, an adaptation of the Italian horror comic Dylan Dog. Brandon Routh plays Dylan, a Nightmare Detective who is in a bit of a slump. His friend and sidekick Marcus (Sam Huntington, playing a character who, in the original comics, was a Groucho Marx impersonator (yeah, you can see why they changed that)) tries to get him back into the game, but it isn’t until a beautiful young woman with a very supernatural problem (Anita Briem) shows up that he starts to get back into the swing of things.
Being a zombie in a movie has long been a dream of mine, so I jumped at the chance to head to the Big Easy for this one. I was on set for two days – the first day arriving at 6AM to do almost two hours of make-up, wardrobe and hair – and got to see director Kevin Munroe (helmer of TMNT, making his live action debut) working fast and furious to get some really impressive action on film (and he’s shooting this sucker on actual film).
We spent two days at the abandoned Thalia Power Plant on the banks of the Mississippi River, shooting scenes and doing interviews. I had just been watching an episode of Life After Man and this location would be perfect for that show: rusted metal everywhere, debris underfoot, rickety old catwalks leading over pools of stagnant water. The lower level was completely flooded, probably a remnant of Katrina. Windows were shattered and graffiti was on every surface. And every surface was grimy and filthy. In short, a perfect location for zombies.
In the scenes that were shooting Dylan was taking on a huge monster (played in a wonderful practical suit from Drac Studios by Brian Steele, the king of giant monster suits (you’ve seen him as Wink in Hellboy II, as Tyrant in Resident Evil: Extinction and as the Hell Knight in Doom)) while Marcus was dangling over a pit of hungry zombies. Cue the journalists – we were grabbing and snarling and jumping for Huntington’s ankles as he was suspended by a harnass above us.
I don’t want to give away too many details now – I’m saving those for the full set visit – but suffice it to say that I made a kick ass zombie. And yes, I got to feed.
While we were there we had incredible access to the cast and crew. Brandon Routh is almost preternaturally nice; watching him get beat up in the thick, muggy bayou weather I figured he’d get testy eventually, but even after getting a cut on a rusty railing (requiring a tetanus shot) the Superman actor remained totally even keeled. And he’s got a good sense of humor: he joked that Dead of Night was exciting because he gets to throw punches, something he didn’t get to do as Superman. We spoke with Sam Huntington, a guy who is so funny and so genuine that you can’t help but hope that somebody gives him the break he needs to become a real household name. And we visited Anita Briem’s trailer, where she serenaded us with a song on her guitar. Seriously.
Look for interviews with those folks, as well as Kevin Munroe and super producer Gil Adler (the man who was the real force behind HBO’s classic Tales from the Crypt) when the full visit runs.
In the meantime, check out the exclusive photo we ran yesterday (I actually saw this scene being shot while on set), and check out the other photos from the outlets that were on the visit:
Shock Til You Drop