After Zack Snyder’s expert handling of remaking George A Romero’s zombie classic Dawn Of The Dead back in 2004, we couldn’t wait for him to return to the world of the undead and our wait hasn’t been in vain with the announcement – and now trailer – for his upcoming zombie heist movie, Army Of The Dead.
“Army Of The Dead is about the most unlikely team of individuals who come together to pull off the ultimate Vegas heist and find themselves facing deadly obstacles along the way,” Snyder said. “It’s a heist movie, it’s a zombie thriller, [and] it has some of the most ass-kicking action I’ve ever been around!”
Check out the trailer here…
Army The Dead stars Dave Bautista as Scott Ward who Synder describes as “the leader of the team”: “I’ve been a fan of Dave’s work. Of course, in Guardians he’s insanely awesome and hilarious, but I knew that this role was going to require… I don’t know, he’s a dad, but he’s also a badass, he’s a killer,” Snyder continued. “So he has this conflict going on in his own life, he’s trying to reconnect with his daughter but he’s also very capable at the mission, at the job at hand, and then he also has relationships with some of the other members of the team…”
“I’ve been wanting to prove myself as an actor, and I was avoiding action roles for a long time,” Bautista added. “So when I first heard about the project, not knowing much about it other than it was described to me as a zombie film, I wasn’t crazy interested because I figured I knew what that is. I know it’s going to be action, but then when [Zack and I] had the conversation, I understood that Scott Ward had a bunch of layers. Also there was a lot of layers as far as entertainment value in this being a zombie film, being a heist, being an emotional drama, having conflicts between the characters and the family members. There was just so much more going on than I originally thought, I was sold immediately.
“Personally I’ve wanted to work with [Zack] for years. I mean 300 was a game-changer for me. I’m a student of this game, and I love working with people that I can learn from. So I wanted to work with [Zack] and pick up a few tricks!”
“I wanted the movie to be a kind of genre-busting movie,” Snyder continued. “I wanted it to be slightly self-aware, so it allows there to be a little bit of that dry humour. It also visually does the same thing so there is a funny aspect of the movie.”
“Absolutely,” Bautista nodded, “that was one of the things that I really loved about it because it’s not all blood and gore and terror, it’s very self-aware, which makes it very entertaining!”
Army The Dead takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a displaced Vegas local, former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: Break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours.
Driven by the hope that the payoff could help pave the way to a reconciliation with his estranged daughter Kate (Ella Purnell), Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. They include Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), an ace mechanic and Ward’s old friend; Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), a zombie killing machine; Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a cynical helicopter pilot; Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), a go-for-broke influencer and Chambers (Samantha Win), his ride-or-die; Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s head of security; a badass warrior known as the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) who recruits Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard; and a brilliant German safe cracker named Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Scott finds an unexpected emotional hurdle when Kate joins the expedition to search for Geeta (Huma Qureshi), a mother who’s gone missing inside the city. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all…
Unsurprisingly, one of the big influences in Army Of The Dead is Dawn Of The Dead: “After the experience of making [Dawn Of The Dead] I really was obsessed with the tone and the genre. On top of the genre aspect of zombie films, zombie movies can combine many different genres and also social commentary. I was inspired by a lot of those movies, like Escape From New York and Aliens and The Thing. I sort of got obsessed with this idea of all the tropes and the different sort of accepted rules of the zombie world, and I just started playing with them in my mind, and was trying to create a scenario where you could really play with those rules and play with the tropes of the cinematic universe, and have a lot of fun.
“I thought about it pretty much right after I finished [Dawn] and just kind of put on the back burner. Then I recently just got interested in it again and Shay [Hatten] and I did a rewrite from scratch, and I ended up with this crazy movie!”
Army Of The Dead is out on Netflix on 21 May 2021