Friday, April 20, 2007

Camera Obscura - My Brother Plays A Zombie

Making a movie about zombies, being in a movie about zombies -- all these things are hard, hard work.

Down in Rome GA (which was featured as a "checkpoint" in the new TV show "Drive", though it looked like it was shot somewhere near Mulholland Drive) filmmakers are working furiously to create a movie slated for release next year called "Dance of the Dead," as I have mentioned previously here on these pages. The story follows your typical high-school prom which gets overrun by hordes of zombies ... the movie web site is being constructed.

Weather and production problems did delay a planned April 13th shoot, but the movie is getting made and that means my brother David did indeed get a moment (and perhaps even more) of cinematic fame as a zombie in the movie.

Like I said, it's not easy making such a movie, nor is being an extra an easy task either.

David sent along an email containing a sort of diary of the day's events and a picture of how he actually got made up to appear in the film. The diary of the day is first and the pic he sent follows:

I finally got in on the shoot last night--placed right behind the stunt zombies in the prom attack scene. Please, Mr. Editor, add another second or two to my fifteen minutes.

8-10 pm -- Lots of wondering if anything was going to happen & listening to the war stories of experienced extras straight out of Waiting for Guffman. One guy, though, had been an extra in Day of the Dead & had a couple of good ones.

10-12 -- 1st AD announces that they don't have enough kids. Could we call someone? I call [my son] Daniel, promising [my wife] CB he will be home by midnight.

He comes & we watch a couple of scenes being shot, then get in the
"clean prom" shoots, dancing wildly & bopping balloons in the air.

12:30 -- CB calls. I say, "Let's finish the take & then call her back."
Once the take is over he goes home (reluctantly).

12:30-2 am -- A couple more takes as a normal guy in the crowd.

2-3 am -- They start zombie-fying us. I'm really tired & pissed that
other guys get cool head appliances while I'm relegated to the "third
tier," with just dark pancake. But I'm there, so I hang out & wait.
Chris the makeup guy comes out with a little sprayer, exactly the same kind I use to spray Roundup, full of blood. Asks for volunteers. I eagerly respond & he lines us up in the parking lot.
I tell him, "Dude, you have to take advantage of my white hair--red on silver, right?" He totally douses me. They hurry us into the gym--I don't have a clue what I look like.
When the set guy is placing us--masks in front, third tier
way in back--he points to me and says "You, mask stand over--Jesus! That's not a mask! Ok, bloody guy! Come with me."

He sticks me right behind the stunt zombies who attack & get nailed in the scene where the prom zombies converge on the two heroes. I'm right behind the bride zombie who makes the first dash at them.

4-6 am -- Long story short, I'm right in the front line of action, &
when the fight turns bad & we all close in on the heroes, I'm the first one to lay a hand on them--in all of the numerous takes! The production photographer snaps my picture.

At last I understand the emotional life of an extra--the unending quest to aggrandize the trivial. This is a movie about a zombie smart enough to hang back until the heroes are too tired & crowded to fight back!
All those Discovery Channel sequences about hyenas pack hunting finally pay off.

More shooting days to come over the next three weeks. Start the
internet buzz!

I like the glasses -- adds that "Hey, I'm just an everyday kinda zombie" look.

The director, Gregg Bishop, has begun taking his first feature to a multitude of festivals and it's getting some rave reviews. It's called "The Other Side," but I gather they are still looking for a distributor.


A longtime favorite and semi-cult classic movie about a computer which threatens the world, "Colossus: The Forbin Project" (1970) based on a trilogy of books by D.F. Jones is getting a major Hollywood remake under the team of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The reports say the new movie will draw on all three books of Jones' trilogy.

"The Forbin Project" is a minor masterpiece and holds up very well. Trivia buffs note the computer seen at the beginning of the movie was actually the payroll computer in use by the studio at the time (!!!). It starred Eric Braeden, who is best known today for a long running stint on "The Young and The Restless."

And do any of you ever recall seeing a sequel to "Forbin Project"? I know, and I mean I think I know I saw one, but have found zero info about it. Anyone got some info on that? Could be I'm wrong, but the memory I have is rather persistent that I saw one.


Oddest news of the week -- Bono and The Edge of U2 are currently negotiating to write the music for a Broadway musical version of Marvel Comics' Spiderman. Sources say that director Julie Taymor is already signed up to direct.

Speaking of Taymor, she is fighting to have her name taken off the movie she just completed "Across The Universe," which is set in the 1960s and is loaded with Beatles music, and at the same time fighting to regain final cut of the movie. Studio chiefs say her version was just awful so they recut it and added a totally different soundtrack, all without telling Taymor.


  1. Your brother's movie set report = hilarious!

    I think one probably doesn't need glasses anymore when one becomes a zombie (or vampire, or werewolf, or whatnot), but it certainly adds a great aesthetic to an otherwise humdrum monster experience... hehe!

  2. OMG.. forever a part of infamy. I want his autograph.

  3. I love zombies almost as much as I love bacon.

  4. I love the term, "everyday sort of zombie."

  5. Well, Tits - once again you have nailed an excellent t-shirt slogan. Or maybe something George Romero could say as a spokesperson for his fave brand of bacon!!

    Coma - thanks! I'm just jealous he may get to be in a nationally seen zombie movie before me! so it goes.
    hope to heck you are feeling much better than last week!!