Most of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s post-Governator acting slate has been throwback fare thus far, but he is also exploring new (onscreen) territory with the upcoming zombie film, Maggie. The horror drama/thriller is being headlined by Abigail Breslin (Ender’s Game) as the title character, a small-town teenager who is infected with a virus that slowly, but steadily, transforms her into a flesh-hungry creature. Schwarzenegger is portraying Maggie’s father, a seasoned farmer who struggles to help his daughter as her condition worsens.

Maggie was scripted by the relative newcomer writer John Scott 3 (an executive producer on the film), whose original screenplay made the 2011 Black List – i.e., a list of the best unproduced scripts that is released annually by Hollywood. The cast for the feature is small, but includes the lesser-known TV actress Amy Brassette (True Detective), movie actress Rachel Whitman Groves (Oldboy (2013)) and young newcomer Aiden Flowers in supporting roles.

Principal photography on Maggie is underway, hot on the heels of Schwarzenegger having finished reprising his role as Trench for the upcoming The Expendables 3. Arnold (through his Twitter account) has posted a behind-the-scenes image to commemorate the start of production, which features him posed alongside Breslin and the movie’s director (in his feature-length debut), Henry Hobson. The latter has previously made his living as a titles sequence designer, on TV series like MI-5 and (more appropriately) The Walking Dead, in addition to blockbuster fare like Sherlock Holmes, Snow White and the Huntsman and, most recently, Disney’s The Lone Ranger.

Here is your first look at the stars and director of Maggie:

[Click for Full-Sized Version]

Schwarzenegger is going for something of a prototypical farmer look here, with his beard, side-combed haircut and everyday working man’s clothing. He’s wisely been changing his appearance significantly and varying things from film to film (per the demands of his movie roles), switching from silver-colored locks in the buddy-throwback action flick Escape Plan (which opens next month) to his appearance for Maggie and his sharper look as a corrupt DEA agent in next year’s thriller, Sabotage (formerly, Ten). One has to wonder how Arnold will mix things up next, when he appears in director Alan Taylor’s Terminator franchise reboot.

By the looks of it, Maggie will be a smaller (read: low-budget), more personal and more character-driven film than Schwarzenegger fans may be accustomed to. It will also be interesting to see just how much of the story is told from either Breslin or Arnold’s character’s perspective – and thus, if Scott’s screenplay uses horror genre tropes to explore the coming of age experience from a young woman’s point of view (recalling Stephen King’s Carrie), or to examine the stresses that parents undergo when their child begins to change into something beyond their control.

Let us know if you’re planning to checkout Maggie when it hits theaters, or if you would prefer that Schwarzenegger stick to his guns (literally) by focusing his time and energy on making throwback flicks and franchise installments like Terminator 5 and The Legend of Conan.

Maggie doesn’t have a release date yet, but could reach theaters by 2014.

Source: Arnold Schwarzenegger