MAJOR SPOILERS loom ahead, so get those hard hats on if you are a gutsy ghoul. Inside you’ll find an excusive set report from George Romero’s Land of the Dead, where you can read about Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s appearance, Asia Argento’s role and the DVD release (already!), what are you waiting for, read on!
Set report by Prince Chawmin’:
Prince Chawmin’ here with greetings from Hollywood North on the set of the new zombie film “Land of the Dead“. For a little background “Land of the Dead” takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth where zombies control 75% of the earth and the humans live in some kind of fortresses. The film stars Simon Baker, Asia Argento and of course John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper just to name a few. (Well and a ton of bad ass Canadians hell bent on eating brains… well there’s no hockey so what else do we have to do right?)
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being an extra during a Zombie vs Human cage match. Sound wacky? Sound Cheesy? NAH! They’ve gone all out for this one gang.. they’ve brought in stunt coordinator Matt Birman from such classics as “Blues Brothers 2000″, “The Tuxedo” and last but not least the Olsen Twins classic “New York Minute”.
That aside here’s the lowdown on the shoot. Well… someone must be an insomniac because for some reason they decided to shoot at night even though we’re shooting indoors so the extras had a call time of around 3:00pm and we’d go until around 6:00am each of the days. Why am I mentioning this? Well you’ll find out in a minute or two more of reading. Anyways… we’re in a bar called Chihuahua’s Dog House (Chihuahua is played by the always cool Phil Fondacaro) and there is a fight between Asia Argento and two zombies. The set is a cross between a bar and a carnival. We have 4 strippers in windows, a bar full of patrons, a SPAM stand, carnival games including Zombie Paintball (no headshots!!) and a “Have your picture taken with a Zombie” booth.
Two guys throw Asia into the cage and all hell breaks loose, our Canadian hero (I assume the character is Canadian as he’s got a Canadian Flag on his jacket sleeve) burst through the crowd, fires a couple of shots and the crowd scatters. Exciting eh? Well there better be some fine editing in this scene because without it we’re gonna be in trouble. The fight scene looked so awkward and forced and didn’t really seem to flow at all. Asia even had to stop several times and clarify what she was to do because it didn’t make any sense. (and I’m not just talking trash.. I went to film school so I know a little about this not a lot.. but a little) It’s hard to explain but I’ll try… you have a pull-up bar in your house? Well go hang from it… then try to rotate 360 degrees and kick a zombie while still holding onto the bar. (sound hard? Well neither Asia or her stunt double could do it) perhaps that’s where the CGI comes in?
Also on set that day was Simon Pegg (star of Shaun of the Dead) and Edgar Wright (the director of Shaun of the Dead) Pegg was featured as the zombie you could have your picture taken with. Also of note for the traditionalists he was very Romeroesque in his makeup. According to a sign posted just outside of the set they were shooting some behind the scenes footage promo stuff for the “Shaun of the Dead” DVD. There was also a guy with a Mini DV cam following around Pegg & Wright all night doing mini interviews and grabbing footage whenever he could.
On the positive side it was interesting watching Romero work. Unfortunately he was only around the first night and seemed to disappear and wasn’t mentioned again. I assume he was off directing a more important scene. Or.. those glasses of his finally got the better of him and he couldn’t get himself out of bed.
DVD INFO: Be sure to keep an eye out for a new drinking game once the DVD comes out. I’ll do the honor of naming it now if that’s ok. It’s called “Spot the sleeping extra”. Everyone will be watching the footage, fight outtakes, and behind the scenes stuff for all the background extras fast asleep at 5:00am when they are normally at home in their warm beds. You should be able to spot a couple of strippers fast asleep on their couches, fight fans with their heads down on the tables in front of them and a little grey haired old lady fast asleep right when Asia is being charged by a zombie. It was hilarious.. this tiny little woman would be fast asleep the AD’s would yell “BACKGROUND ACTION!” and everyone would start to cheer. The ladies head would pop up and she’d start cheering along with everyone else. After the shot was over she’d sit down, settle in and within 2 minutes would be fast asleep again. Needless to say there were quite a few of us watching this woman and not the action in the ring. Luckily none of the AD’s seemed to notice so we had hours and hours of fun. Get ready to drink folks, there were over 100 of us there all sleep deprived and cranky.