It looks like Zack Snyder is getting stuck back into his work after taking a brief hiatus to deal with a personal tragedy that beset his family during production on Justice League.
As the DC Extended Universe moves away from the Snyder house style and drops most of the interconnectivity of the movies, Snyder is setting his sights on a long-gestating project of his: Army of the Dead. It’s a zombie movie that Snyder is directing for Netflix and has gotten a lot of people excited. Here is Everything We Know (So Far) About Zack Snyder’s Netflix Zombie Movie Army Of The Dead.
10 Dave Bautista is starring
These days, a lot of moviegoers will be sold on an upcoming project as soon as they hear that Dave Bautista’s on board. Bautista has made the leap from wrestler to movie star in just a couple of years, leaving behind the WWE in favor of worldwide recognition as Drax the Destroyer, a James Bond henchman, and ultimately, Dave Bautista the movie star.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has delayed production to deal with behind-the-scenes drama, so Bautista has signed up to star in Army of the Dead in the meantime. He’ll play the leader of a group of mercenaries.
9 It’s not necessarily a Dawn of the Dead sequel
When Army of the Dead first began its development years ago, it was being pitched as a sequel to Zack Snyder’s remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The remake was surprisingly successful and launched Snyder’s career.
However, Netflix’s revival of the Army of the Dead project has yet to be identified as a direct sequel to Snyder’s earlier work and will instead likely contribute to Snyder’s ongoing zombie oeuvre. He might round out his unofficial “zombie trilogy” with a later film. But as it stands, Army of the Dead is not necessarily a Dawn of the Dead sequel.
8 It’s set in Las Vegas
We’ve seen a zombie outbreak in various different settings – farms, prisons, supermarkets, apartment buildings, trains, pretty much anywhere a disparate group of survives could hide out – but one place we’ve never seen an epic zombie story take place is Las Vegas. Zack Snyder is hoping to rectify that with Army of the Dead, which will be set in Las Vegas.
The plot will also use Sin City as the sort of ground zero for the zombie outbreak. The real Vegas isn’t deserted and post-apocalyptic – it’s one of the busiest places in America – so shooting this one will be a little tricky. But the premise sounds intriguing.
7 The budget is reportedly up to $90 million
IMDb reports that the budget for Army of the Dead is $70 million, while other reports state that the budget is up to $90 million. This is about the same amount of money that Netflix spent on Bright, which was another big-budget spectacle with a focus on world-building, so use that as a frame of reference.
It’s a smaller budget than Snyder’s last couple of movies, but to be fair, they were studio-backed, theatrically released superhero blockbusters, so it’s not really a fair comparison. Army of the Dead still has a slightly bigger production budget than 300 or Sucker Punch.
6 It’s a heist movie
Although Army of the Dead is set in a world where zombies have risen up and taken over, the goal of the characters is not simply to survive like every other zombie movie. They’re hoping to pull off “the greatest heist ever attempted.” The new trend in zombie movies seems to be putting zombies in a genre they don’t belong in – like the MCU has been doing with superheroes and established genre constructs.
World War Z is more of a geopolitical thriller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a literary parody crossed with a zombie thriller, and The Dead Don’t Die promises to be a Jim Jarmusch indie comedy with zombies. Following that trend, Army of the Dead promises to be the first zombie heist movie.
5 Snyder is using the movie to start a new chapter in his career
For the past few years, Zack Snyder’s career has been defined by his contributions to the DC Extended Universe. Even though he’s been out of the DCEU production process for a couple of years now, his stylistic stamp can still be seen on every movie that comes out of the franchise, no matter how drastically it departs from his established tone.
So, the director says he’s going to use Army of the Dead – an original story, with no ties to Warner Bros. or comic books – as a sort of “palate cleanser” to reset his career and start a new chapter.
4 It will be completely different from the original script
Since Army of the Dead has been in development for over a decade, we’ve gotten bits and pieces of its script over the years – and some of it sounds dreadful. Back in 2008, Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr., who was then on board to direct Army of the Dead, said that the script had a concept-based storyline that saw “the male zombies rape human females...And they have human hybrid zombie offsprings.”
However, Snyder has confirmed that since Netflix bought the project and he was reattached as its director, the screenplay has been “completely redone” and will feature none of the set pieces or conceptual stuff that were in the original drafts.
3 Nicolas Cage was rumored to be involved based on the premise
As soon as Army of the Dead was announced, based on its zany premise of a heist story set in Las Vegas during a zombie apocalypse with a bunch of mercenaries at the forefront, some media outlets described it as a Nicolas Cage movie. Some other media outlets misread this and thought that Cage had actually been cast in the movie.
So, rumors began to spread that Nic Cage was involved in this movie, purely based on its wacky premise. Cage, in fact, will not be in the movie, and it will instead star Dave Bautista with a supporting cast that has yet to be announced.
2 It will be “fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way”
From the way Zack Snyder talks about this project, he sounds very excited about it. He has claimed that his intention with Army of the Dead is to “make something fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way.”
He also intends to honor the history of horror and maybe even get meta with it: “I love to honor canon and the works of art, but this is the opportunity to find a purely joyful way to express myself through a genre. It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware – but not in a wink-to-the-camera way – balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen.”
1 Netflix is giving Snyder a lot of creative freedom
Netflix is apparently giving Zack Snyder some serious creative control with this movie, which he couldn’t be more thrilled about. The director said, “No one’s ever let me completely loose [like this],” which is probably a breath of fresh air after working with meddling studio executives on so many of his recent projects, especially since his last job was to create a whole franchise.
Based on this and their rumored Resident Evil series, Netflix does seem eager to get into the business of zombies, likely owing to the huge recent success of zombies, both on the big screen with World War Z and on the small screen with The Walking Dead.