WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO THIS FILM?
Jeff Broadstreet: I’ve always loved horror movies and the last film I directed (“Dr. Rage”) was an offbeat, darkly funny horror film. There have been a number of zombie films over the years that I’ve liked — I dug the original “Dawn of the Dead” when it first came out in ’78 and I thought the guys who did the 2004 remake did a pretty good job. It wasn’t just like the original and I think that was a good thing.
When I was approached by the production company about making “NotLD 3D” I thought it could be an interesting project. At that time, in early January of this year, I honestly wasn’t dying to do a zombie film. But I thought we could do something a little different with the premise. And, of course making the film in 3D added a whole new dimension (pun intended) to the project. So, I told the people at Midnight Movies that I wanted to have Bob write the screenplay and he came up with some new, very clever ideas.
Robert Valding: Which of course doesn’t mean I didn’t recycle a bunch of old ideas too. Every zombie movie should bring a few old story points back from the dead.
JB: “NotLD 3D” is a different kind of zombie movie — it obviously has traditional “zombie movie” elements but also has some ideas and themes that, I think, will surprise the audience. And for a 3D movie, it’s not particularly gimmicky.
RV: Yes, zombies reach off the screen. But no, we don’t have blood spurting into the audience.
JB: We did try to.
RV: But it just didn’t work.
IS GEORGE ROMERO INVOLVED?
JB: No, George Romero is not involved in any way with this film. I have a lot of respect for Romero and as I said, I really like the original “Dawn of the Dead” — I think it’s his best zombie movie. This project was presented to me by Midnight Movies as a re-imagining of the 1968 film that had fallen into the public domain and the new production was going to be made in 3D. So, I was offered the opportunity to produce and direct a horror film with a bigger budget than I had before — and I thought I could make a good, small horror movie with the resources that would be available. I had flirted with 3D projects in the past and had a pretty good working knowledge of the process and what would probably be involved.
RV: “Night of the Living Dead” made a huge impression on me when I was a kid. It scared the crap out of me, gave me nightmares, but I also felt like it was saying some scary but true things about real life, society, human nature. It didn’t preach, but it hit you with a lot more than just mindless scares. So when this opportunity came along, I tried to write a script that commented on our society today the way the ’68 film commented on its own time. I’d like to think Romero would like the film — though I suspect he’d be a bit more open to it under another title.
JB: Once we committed to the project and both being horror fans, Bob and I knew that the hard-core Romero/”Night of the Living Dead” fans would be not happy that a new production was being filmed and that Romero was not involved. It was the same reaction that Bob and I had when we went to see the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead.” Like a lot of horror fans, we were convinced the remake was going to be bad — and when it was over our basic reaction was, “you know what, that was pretty good”. So, I went into this film with the approach that the first reaction to “NotLD 3D” from the hardcore fans would be that they would be convinced that our film was not going to be good – and we were determined to make a film that was a little bit different, that works on its own terms. We want the fans and the audience in general to come out of the theater and say, “that was a good movie.”
IS THE STORY THE SAME AS THE 1968 FILM?
JB: “NotLD 3D” is both an homage and re-imagining of the 1968 film. The basic premise is sort of the same, but the story doesn’t necessarily go where you think it’s gonna go.
RV: A good horror movie should make you feel like it’s predicting your fate. I think that’s what Romero’s film did for audiences at the end of the sixties — it said “This is what all of this scary social breakdown and upheaval is leading up to.” The American apocalypse — if the flesh-eating zombies don’t get you, the vigilantes will. And you could laugh it off as just a tacky drive-in horror movie, but you couldn’t shake its effect because it touched on too many things that were going wrong in the real world. There was something deeply uncanny about it. Now, in 2005, zombies aren’t uncanny. Everybody’s seen a bazillion zombie movies. So more than anything I wanted to get back that feeling of uncanniness that Romero’s film had. What was the question?
RV: Oh right — is the story the same? Ultimately no, but there is definitely some major déjà vu. Getting back to that idea of a horror film foretelling your fate… you could say that our characters have their fates foretold — by Romero’s film.
ARE THE CHARACTERS THE SAME?
JB: Some of the characters are similar to the ones in the 1968 film and there are characters in this film that are completely original. I don’t want to give too much away, but Sid Haig’s character, “Gerald Tovar, Jr.” is very loosely based on an actual guy who was running an unlicensed mortuary. Actually, my wife Nancy brought the story to my attention when Bob and I were first working out the story and I thought, this could be a very interesting jumping off point for that character in the movie. By the way, I don’t think Sid even knows this, but we wrote the character of “Gerald Tovar, Jr.” for him. I had been thinking about working with him ever since I saw “House of 1000 Corpses” — when he came on the screen in the beginning of the film behind the counter at the gas station and flashed that crazy grin, I thought, “were has this guy been”? So, we got our first choice. Sid, thanks for doin’ the movie.
WHAT KIND OF 3D PROCESS IS IT FILMED IN?
JB: It’s red & blue anaglyph projection, the same process that Robert Rodriguez’s “Spy Kids” movies were released in. For filming we had two custom built lightweight 3D rigs made by Dan Symmes and his Dimension 3 company. The film features extensive handheld and Steadicam shots, a first in 3D films.
WILL WE NEED TO WEAR GLASSES?
RV: Yes, you will need to wear red-blue glasses. Which only intensifies the horror.
WHAT WAS THE FILM’S BUDGET?
JB: Considerably less than “Land of the Dead” and considerably more than the 1968 film. It’s a small film with a lot of production value and very good 3D. I had real-time 3D monitoring on the set — it was fantastic to set-up the shots and be able to see the 3D in real time as you are working out the blocking with the actors. Our two young stars, Brianna Brown and Josh DesRoches are really good in this film and Sid Haig is very memorable in a somewhat unusual role. Like most small films, the shooting schedule was tight, but our director of photography, Andy Parke, did a great job. Bob directed the second unit and they shot some really good footage for us.
RV: I would have done it for free. In fact I did do it for free.
WHEN WILL THE FILM BE RELEASED?
JB: We’re finishing post now. The plan is for the film to be released
theatrically in several markets in late January 2006.
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