Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista has been cast in Zack Snyder’s new Netflix zombie film Army of the Dead. Back in January, Screen Rant reported that Army of the Dead would be Snyder’s next project after teaming up with Netflix and securing a multi-million dollar budget. The movie, which is Snyder’s first since Justice League, is described as a zombie heist action-horror. It focuses on a man who recruits a group of mercenaries to invade a quarantined Las Vegas during a zombie outbreak to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. In Snyder’s own words, his film will be a "balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow."
Though it’s currently all systems go on the production of Army of the Dead, the film has been a long time coming. Work began on the film as far back as 2007, but then Warner Bros. put the project on hold after growing concerns over its budget. Before being resurrected by Netflix, Army of the Dead reportedly underwent many script changes, evolving from a story about male zombies raping non-zombie females and impregnating them to the zombie heist film it is today – a move probably for the best considering a zombie heist sounds a lot more fun and a lot less controversial than zombie rape. More recently, it was suggested that Bautista was involved in a forthcoming Snyder film that people speculated was likely to be Army of the Dead.
Now Deadline is reporting that those suspicions were indeed true and Dave Bautista has completed a deal with Netflix to star in Army of the Dead. The casting comes at a busy time for Bautista, who will soon reprise his role as Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax in the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame. In the near future, Bautista is also set to star in family comedy My Spy as a hardened CIA operative blackmailed by a kid into revealing the tricks of his trade, and in Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming Dune remake in which he’ll play the role of Glossu ‘Beast’ Rabban.
While the character who Bautista will play isn’t yet known, Army of the Dead certainly sounds like a suitable project for him. Having plenty of experience making action films should equip him well and the fact he’s built like a brick house doesn’t hurt, either. If Bautista plays one of the mercenaries tasked with infiltrating Las Vegas, his character will make for a more than formidable zombie opponent.
Fans of Snyder will remember he made his directorial debut in 2004 with another zombie movie – a remake of the late, great George A. Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead. While a polarizing movie, some consider it Snyder’s best film to date, but others (including Romero himself) took issue with Snyder’s swapping slow and shambling zombies for the super-fast ones. As Snyder makes a return to his zombie roots, film fans will wonder whether Army of the Dead will be just as polarizing as Dawn of the Dead was 15 years ago. But at least this time around, Snyder is equipped with a far bigger budget and a lot more directing experience. Here’s hoping Army of the Dead turns out to be a solid entry into the zombie horror genre.