Zack Snyder has started filming his zombie action-horror movie Army of the Dead with a cast that includes Dave Bautista and Ella Purnell. The Army of the Dead project is one that Snyder's been working on for well over a decade now, and it nearly entered production under director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (The Thing 2011) in the late 2000s. And although the initial draft included extremely controversial plot points like zombies raping and impregnating human women, the Army of the Dead screenplay has since received a complete overhaul that (thankfully) abandons those elements.
Instead, the new Army of the Dead script by Snyder, Joby Harold (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), and Shay Hatten (John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum) follows a seasoned mercenary (Bautista) as he leads an extremely dangerous, but potentially rewarding heist in Las Vegas, following a zombie outbreak. Purnell (Sweetbitter) costars as Bautista's onscreen estranged daughter in the production, and is joined by Theo Rossi (Marvel's Luke Cage), Huma Qureshi (Kaala), and Ana De La Reguera (Everything, Everything) in supporting roles.
Photography on Army of the Dead is now officially underway, with Snyder currently filming in Albuquerque, New Mexico before he heads to New Jersey to shoot on-location in an Atlantic City casino. According to THR, the movie has now added Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld), Omari Hardwick (Power), Raúl Castillo (Looking), Chris D'Elia (Whitney), Garrett Dillahunt (Fear the Walking Dead), Nora Arnezeder (Origin), Matthias Schweighöfer (You Are Wanted), Samantha Win (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), and Rich Cetrone (Sleepy Hollow) to its ensemble, in addition to the aforementioned names.
Based on a previously-leaked character breakdown for Army of the Dead, there are plenty of significant roles to go around (both leading and supporting in nature). The rundown also indicated that Snyder's movie will feature a relatively inclusive cast when it comes to age, ethnicity, and gender (though the majority of characters are still male), and that's reflected in the final acting roster. It's further in keeping with the writer-director approach on his previous projects, including his feature debut and original venture into the zombie genre with 2004's Dawn of the Dead remake.
Following the snafu that was Justice League, Army of the Dead offers Snyder the chance to rebound with an adrenaline-fueled, genre-blending thrill ride that lies firmly in his wheelhouse and promises to be true to his creative vision. Netflix, which is producing the project, appears to be staying hands-off with the film, and even Snyder's admitted that "No one’s ever let me completely loose" like this in the past. Hopefully, that will be for the best and allow the storyteller to deliver the truly unique experience that everyone's hoping for.
Army of the Dead is expected to stream on Netflix beginning in 2020.