Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny star opposite each other in Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy The Dead Don't Die. Though their characters are hardly the archetypes of classic heroes - let alone heroes in a horror film - they still hold their own against the undead.
In The Dead Don't Die, Officer Ronnie Peterson (Driver) and Officer Mindy Morrison (Sevigny) enter crisis mode when zombies begin taking over their small town. With little more than a police cruiser, a handful of weapons, and their chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) at their disposal, they do their best to keep the undead at bay - all the while dealing with the imminent zombie apocalypse in their own unique ways. Ronnie is quick to wrap his head around the situation, immediately accepting the fact that zombies not only exist, but are on the hunt; and Mindy is stuck in denial, far less willing to accept the truth. During a junket interview for The Dead Don't Die, we spoke with Driver and Sevigny about the hidden meaning behind their characters, Star Wars, and the real-life zombies that inspired the film.
It seemed like the three central characters in this movie - you two and Bill Murray - sort of represented the behaviors of people in conflict. There's passive, active, and reactive. Am I digging way too deep into this or is that something that was ever discussed?
Adam Driver: I don't think it was ever discussed, but I think that's really interesting.
Chloë Sevigny: Yeah, that's pretty on the money.
Because there's definitely this bigger theme to this movie.
Chloë Sevigny: Yeah.
And do you think it's important that he sort of- that Jim sort of took this cautionary tale, wrapped it up in a zombie movie... Do you think that was- I guess, do you see the significance in that, and was that also done on purpose?
Adam Driver: Oh, yeah, definitely I think part of the point. Even before this movie was in existence, I guess, Jim would always joke about people being phone zombies; just kind of marching along the streets in New York City, looking down and not looking up; kind of being isolated in their own world. So it's very pointed that, of the things that people say - WiFi and technology - it is a part of that.
Chloë Sevigny: Yeah. I think Mindy's reaction to what she hears on the news, and thinking, 'What'd you mean they're lying?' Do you know what I mean? She's kind of complacent, but also...
And is that what drew you both to it? Was it the zombie elements or was it what Jim was-?
Adam Driver: Jim, yeah. The kinds of things he's working on, I'm always interested in because of who he is and the films he makes.
Very different from your last movie with him - Paterson.
Adam Driver: Yeah. [laughs] But the same. No, yeah, yeah, yeah - in that people are alive in Paterson. There was more special effects, which was like our- again, that's like his humor with all these jokes about special effects. In Paterson, it was so low-key. We actually- sorry, I'm telling this story again. Chloë's already heard it once, but making Paterson, I'll just keep talking about it. We always had this joke that we should also be shooting "Peterson," a guy who's in the same exact thing, but is a total jerk; reads a kids poem and throws it on the ground and says, 'That poem sucks.' So we found a way to work it into this one.
Now, I have to ask - there's that Star Wars reference. Was that always in the script - did [Jim] write that in - or was that just sort of thrown in?
Adam Driver: I think it was always in. There was a couple moments of people having self-referential kind of things to- obviously, the thing in the script. There was a couple of them. And then [Jim] reached out, and I think, because you have to get permission to use the image, and it originally went through somebody else, and they said 'No.' And so I called Kathy Kennedy, and [I] explained what was going on, and she's like, 'Of course.'
It's a good person to ask.
Adam Driver: They let us use it. Yeah.
Chloë Sevigny: It got a big cheer in Cannes.
That's great. Same. At the screening, people loved it.
Adam Driver: Oh, really? [laughs]
Chloë Sevigny: They just ate it up.
Adam Driver: [laughs]
Chloë Sevigny [impersonates zombie, laughs]
Very on brand for the zombies.
Adam Driver: [laughing] What is that?
Chloë Sevigny: I was doing a zombie.
Very meta. I like it.
- The Dead Don't Die (2019) release date: Jun 14, 2019