Shooting will be in Toronto starting in early October. Tom Savini will have a large role in the film playing a character who goes into the the zombie infested world to get supplies for wealthy survivors.
The current deal with Fox is that Romero has to deliver a R-rated theatrical release and will be given an unrated director's cut on DVD.
"I'd love to do a '90s one that reflects the attitudes of this decade. It would be further on from the zombie rising, so there'd be fewer people but fewer zombies too, as they'd all have rotted away. And the zombies would just wander around us like homeless or AIDS victims. They'd be kind of unwanted and annoying to have about, but you'd be used to them - you'd just step over them on the way to the shops.
A 'fortified city' is central to the plot. Fat Cats and 'Smarties' have decided to 'reclaim' their lives...despite obvious difficulties, which plays into the 'ignoring the problem' subtext.
The only other thing I'm willing to say is that DEAD 4, if it happens, is going to be fabulous... a great big bundle of shock and entertainment that will make you sing and dance all the way to your grave site." - George A. Romero
George was under a lot of pressure, compressing the script, doing whatever was necessary to meet the new economic crunch. I’d seen him under such conditions before, with TWO EVIL EYES, when the lab ruined five days of shooting. His kind nature remains, but you can feel the strain.
As you may have heard, Romero "walked of the set" of Land of the Dead. MoviesOnline reports what's really happened:
There is absolutely no reason to panic since he walked off on the final day of shooting 5 hours before it was supposed to wrap. Look at it like leaving early on a friday. The rumors of him quitting the movie, or just giving up and throwing in the towel are silly. The producers and the rest of the crew stepped in and finished shooting the film which was just insert shots that they needed. Considering it was only 5 hours before the final wrap it was obviously only going to be small things that needed to be done. Something that they could do easy enough without George. Mr. Romero is a really cool guy and it is shown by the fact that 2 days later he was at the wrap party and seemed in good spirits.
And finally Hip Interactive announces an agreement with Living Dead Productions to produce a series of George A. Romero-branded games. Details have yet to be revealed, but the games, expected for "all current and upcoming platforms," would almost certainly be based on Romero classics such as Night of the Living Dead and the original Dawn of the Dead. Hip expects to announce the first title soon.
"Horror fans have been searching for the ultimate experience in gaming, and we intend to deliver it to them with the tremendous creative input of legendary director, George A. Romero, and Living Dead Productions," said Arindra Singh, President and CEO of Hip Interactive.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to share George's work and ideas with the game buying public," said Simon Bailey, Managing Director of Living Dead Productions. "We are very impressed with the quality of work that Hip will bring to the games. George's fans and gamers alike will not be disappointed!"
Also, USA Today posted an article, I was a middle-aged zombie, about the trials and tribulations of a zombie extra as Susan Wloszczyna suits up. Here's an interesting excerpt:
The onetime pre-med student [Greg Nicotero], 41, turned down the chance to do Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds to reteam with the 64-year-old horror master. His most surprising revelation: Romero doesn't bother to direct the zombies.
"If you have 60 people dress like zombies and you show them something that you like, you get 60 people doing the exact same thing," he explains. "My opinion of a good zombie walk is to loll your head as if it's a little too heavy and the muscles have begun to atrophy."
You can read her complete article, about what she experienced, and look at 6 more pics as Susan gets her Make-Up from Greg Nicotero!
Land of the Dead EFX Overflow w/ Tom Savini
Dark Horizons had some dismembered eyes and ears on the Q&A with horror legend Tom Savini last night in Toronto where the man was talking to a convention crowd about his role in George A. Romero's upcoming 'Land of the Dead' movie. Here's a few details:
"Shooting will be in Toronto starting in early October and apprently Romero has been spending his days location scouting around the city. Savini also talked about how he will have a large role in the film playing a character who goes into the the zombie infested world to get supplies for wealthy survivors.
The coolest part he mentioned was that he would also be reprising his role from the original 'Dawn of the Dead' (the Biker Gang guy) that died and fell into the fountain in the mall- who has since become a zombie. He said that he will actually kill his zombie self in the new film.
There was also talk of using several CG zombies to sort of update the effects and show the audience things that a guy with makeup on could never pull off. Lastly he said Romero has made it clear his zombies will slow moving, as compared to the 'fast zombies' like in the 'Dawn' Remake, the way Romero always did it".
"George has already expressed to me that, whether it means that there will be an unrated DVD edition vs. a regular [theatrical] cut—and I’m sure ratings will come into it—he wants to pull out all the stops. There will be an unrated version; whether it’ll play theatrically or just be released on DVD, I don’t know. But we’ve already been doing zombie feasting tests, and it’s like, ‘OK, how do we do this in one take?’ The whole goal is to push the envelope, because I’m not only working on this film, I’m excited to be the first guy in the audience to see it.”
So, like the much improved uncut version of the Dawn of the Dead remake, we should get our fair share of gut busting only Romero's films can deliever. Nicotero also details the balance of practicle and CGI to be used:
“There are also going to be a lot of puppet heads, similar to things we did on ARMY OF DARKNESS, where we built full-body, articulated creatures,” he continues. “We’re going to use CGI to erase the puppeteers so that every zombie you see is a practical effect. We don’t want to do CGI zombies; I don’t want to remove people’s faces digitally. I want to do it for real, and George has basically said, as we’ve gone through the screenplay, ‘Greg, I’d like 10 or 12 zombie gags that people are going to look at and say, “How did they do that?” ’ My goal is to create characters that, 20 years from now, people will come to a convention with a photo of that zombie and want me to sign it.”
Did that "characters" talk make you take a double take? Well if it didn't, this will:
[T]hese zombies become—not superintelligent, but they aren’t just walking around chomping on people. It’s taking the groundwork that Howard Sherman laid [as experimental ghoul Bub in DAY] and building on that.
Sources have told The Horror Channel that Dennis Hopper has landed a starring role in George A. Romero's Land Of The Dead, the upcoming and long-awaited fourth film in the director's classic horror series. The film, reportedly budgeted at $16 million, is tentatively scheduled to begin shooting this fall. Hopper's casting represents the first "name" actor to be cast in one of Romero's Dead films, which have previously featured relative unknowns. More casting announcements are expected to come in the weeks ahead.
Land of the Dead Greenlighted
Variety reports that George Romero is set to direct "Land of the Dead," a horror film that picks up on the zombie saga he hatched with "Night of the Living Dead" and continued with "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead."
Pic, from Romero's own script, is being co-financed by Atmosphere Entertainment and Paris-based Wild Bunch. Production will begin in October in Winnipeg or Pittsburgh. Latter was the site of shooting for Romero's original 1968 zombie trilogy.
New film will be produced by Atmosphere chairman-CEO Mark Canton and prexy Bernie Goldmann, along with Romero's partner Peter Grunwald of Romero Grunwald Prods. Atmosphere's Steve Barnett is exec producer.
Go picture is the first for Atmosphere, which Canton formed late last year with financing from Daedalus Media Partners principal Mark J. Kimsey. While the company hatched a surplus of scripts Canton brought from previous ventures, "Land of the Dead" is a new script buy.
In Romero's new pic, the zombies having taken over the world and those left alive are confined to a walled-in city that keeps out the corpse corps. Anarchy rules the streets, with the wealthy insulated and living in fortified skyscrapers. Drama revolves around a group of scavengers who must thwart an attempt to overthrow the city while the dead are evolving from brainless slow-moving creatures into more advanced creatures.
Canton said Romero's early work was the touchstone for a slew of current horror hits and that his script showed the master hadn't lost his touch.
He and Goldmann described the film as "Night of the Living Dead" meets "The Road Warrior," and Wild Bunch's Vincent Grimond sparked to the overseas potential. The two companies have the ability to cover the budget themselves but expect to land a domestic distributor before the zombies wreak havoc in the fall.
Romero had been developing "Diamond Dead," a black comedy musical that's being produced by Scott Free and Andrew Gaty, and he also scripted an adaptation of the Stephen King novel "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," which he may direct for Canadian financier Don Archibald and Lions Gate. But he jumped at the chance to dig up the dead again.
"People ask me why I've waited so long to do another 'Dead' film," Romero said. "I made one in the '60s, one in the '70s and one in the '80s. The only reason I missed the '90s is because I wanted to stay faithful to the tradition while coming up with something new."
Romero's new film will have a budget in the teens. The original cost $140,000 and grossed $20 million worldwide, becoming one of the most profitable films of all time. The first sequel, "Dawn of the Dead" cost $1.2 million and grossed $40 million worldwide.
George Romero talks LAND OF THE DEAD and DIAMOND DEAD
After years of little activity, George A. Romero is suddenly busier than a flesh-eating ghoul in a shopping mall. Two film projects—the rock-and-roll horror film DIAMOND DEAD and his fourth official entry in his classic zombie series, LAND OF THE DEAD–are now closer to reality than ever before. In fact, after so many false starts and unrealized projects, Romero is now dealing with a different sort of issue. “I’m suddenly faced with a problem of both films having financing, and I believe LAND OF THE DEAD is going to go first, since that deal is basically complete. But I love DIAMOND DEAD, and I hope the money people will wait for me, instead of trying to find someone else to do it.”
Both movies have independent financing, although Romero says that LAND OF THE DEAD (formerly DEAD RECKONING) has a big-name producer behind it. “I can’t say who it is yet, but it’s a major deal,” the filmmaker says. “I hope they leave us alone and don’t want to ‘Hollywood-ize’ it too much, or spend too much money, but those are battles yet to be fought.”
Romero does acknowledge, however, that there’s a very good chance that the initial release version of LAND OF THE DEAD will not have the same freedoms as his original, unrated DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD. “The producers want major distribution, so I’m sure that the first release version, in this country anyway, will have to be R-rated. I don’t think they’ll want to go NC-17. But they’re gonna let me shoot the film the way I want to, and they’ll let me do the cutbacks for release. Hopefully the fans will still show up, and then see the [unrated] edition later on video.”
The director hopes to begin production on LAND OF THE DEAD in October, with KNB already bidding on the FX work, and Romero says the project is “definitely moving full speed ahead.” He’d love to begin work on DIAMOND DEAD immediately afterward, possibly in the spring; the project’s website can be accessed here. A third film—Romero’s adaptation of Stephen King’s THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, is waiting in the wings and could also roll by mid-2005, and the director will executive-produce a Paramount remake of his 1973 film THE CRAZIES, being scripted by Scott (TEXAS CHAINSAW) Kosar. While juggling all these projects could be stressful to some, Romero is perfectly happy: “It’s nice to know that I might be working! I’ve been sitting on my ass for too long. But, yeah, things look really good right now.”
Dead 4 Greenlight, Dawn DVD Date, Crazies Remake In Production & George A. Romero Updates
"Just got off the phone with a VERY reliable source and am happy to announce that Romero's newest zombie movie has been given the green light - and we got the scoop!!
After word/rumors of this installment have floated around for how long, Fox gave the green light just today [5.10.04] and this 4th zombie/dead installment, still being called 'Dead Reckoning' is now actively looking at locations for shooting. 'Reckoning' is said to take place after the events of Day of the Dead.
George and several cast members from the original installments - Night of the Living Dead [Kyra Schon, Russ Streiner, and John Russo], Dawn of the Dead [Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger, Sharon Ceccatti, and Clayton Hill], and Day of the Dead [Lori Cardille, Joe Pilato, Gary Klar, and Anthony DiLeo] - will also be at the Horrorfind Convention this August in Baltimore - can you smell a theme?
And if that's not enough zombies and Romero news for you... George is also working on pre-production for another zombie film called Diamond Dead, about a young women working with a zombie band on a mission to kill 365 people in one year's time."
Kick fuckin` ass! Now for some short but sweet news from Gorezone.net, the release date for Anchor Bay's three disc Dawn of the Dead DVD set will be set for September 7th, 2004. This set is speculated to contain the Director's Theatrical Cut, The Cannes "Director's Cut" and the Dario Argento European Cut. But if you missed the updates here's some more news from DVD Maniacs:
Anchor Bay gave us a little scoop on their upcoming multi-disc set of Dawn of the Dead. This past Friday, a new commentary track was recorded with the four of the original cast members: Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, Scott H. Reiniger, David Emge! This is the cherry on the top of the cake! This is an excellent addition to the final set is shaping up to become the version to end all versions! A lot of credit should got to AB for putting this together. Getting people together from different locations is a sometimes a huge task, but they did it.
AB has also acquired the rights to The Killing Machine with Sonny Chiba, and the old '70s grindhouse flick, Brotherhood of Death!
Felshner (Anchor Bay) has confirmed at a convention that Document of the Dead will be included on in the boxset, but it will not have any of the extras of the Synapse release.
Paramount Pictures is going with The Crazies, setting up a remake of George Romero's 1972 horror-thriller with Michael Aguilar and Dean Georgaris to produce at their Penn Station shingle, according to Variety.
"The project will update the storyline of the original, in which inhabitants of a small Pennsylvania town are beset by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply.
The original was released in 1972, four years after Romero's debut with "Night of the Living Dead."
Romero, who directed and co-wrote the original pic with Paul McCollough, is exec producing. Par exec VP Ally Shearmur and veep Andrew Haas are overseeing for the studio while Katie Lim is supervising for Penn Station.
Penn Station signed a first-look deal with Paramount last year. Its projects include sci-fier "The Girl Who Could Fly"; comedy "The User," which Guy Walks Into a Bar is co-producing; and an adaptation of Michael Marshall Smith's sci-fi novel "Spares," with Vertigo Entertainment partners Roy Lee and Doug Davison."
ABC decided not to do "Dracula". They did Stephen King's hospital thing instead. (I got beat-out by my buddy, Steve. I'm pissed, but not suicidal.) Faithful agents are currently trying to peddle my Drac script elsewhere. Que sera, sera.
Steve and I are working together on "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon". Dakota Fanning wants to play "The Girl". Laura Dern is interested in playing "Mother of the Girl". We hope to shoot this coming summer. If it doesn't happen, I'll be pissed, but not suicidal.
My fourth zombie flick, "Dead Reckoning", is percolating on "high boil" since the "Dawn of the Dead" remake made 27 million in its first weekend. There's a very good chance that "Dead Reckoning" will go into production soon.
Soon. The great God Soon.
"Diamond Dead" continues to percolate on "hogh-boil" as well, benefiting from the success of "Dawn". (Check out the "Diamond Dead" web site, also designed by Cameron…brilliantly. I'll be showing up there every once in a while, along with Richard Hartley ("The Rocky Horror Picture Show").
I've written a six-issue comic book series for DC about a dead super hero (I deal in death a lot), and I've written two new screenplays on spec., "The Calling" and "Stranger". (More about those later, if there is ever more to report.)
That's all there is, guys, for now.
No news on The Ill, and that's just a statement of fact not a complaint. Damn cool news. Damn cool.
Romero gives us more zombie mayhem... Despite what you may have read in a recent ‘Dead Reckoning’ script review over at AICN, the zombies certainly do not take the back burner this time around. Though the focus of the story is not centered so much around “knowing the zombie” (something ‘Day of the Dead’ explored), they’re still not a force to be reckoned with. In numbers they’re deadly and like an infection of the human body, a zombie inside a protected community must be dealt with quickly. And, like the unfortunate helicopter zombie in ‘Dawn [of the Dead]’ or the bumbling corpse that falls off the elevated platform in ‘Day’, there are some great glimpses of the undead in their prime - let’s say, curious - form. There are some promising gruesome zombie deaths that will no doubt be fun for the lucky FX house assigned to the job.
On August 1st, the Encore channel, as part of their The Directors series, will air The Films of George Romero, a one-hour documentary.
Mike Felsher from Anchor Bay recently said that a 3-disc Dawn of the Dead DVD set is currently in the works. It will include all three versions of the film (Cannes Cut, US Theatrical, Argento's Zombi), as well as the George/Christine/Savini commentary track from the laser disc of a few years back. Furthermore, the fine actors who portrayed our fearsome mall foursome will most likely provide a cast commentary. Other extras, too, will be included.
The folks at Canal+ recently sat down with George and got his thoughts on everything from Bruiser to Dead 4 to September 11th. It's one of the best interviews with George that I've ever seen. Watch it right here.
Q: How close is DEAD 4 to actually being a reality, and would you consider shooting it with a 24-fps digital video camera?
A: You have the camera, I'll start shooting today! I'll shoot with whatever camera anybody is willing to put in my hands. I'd prefer 35mm film, as a 35mm neg. still offers widest distribution.
Anchor Bay has an offer on the table for a 3-4 million dollar budget. I'm afraid the film might cost 5-6. I hope A.B. will agree to taking in a "partner", maybe a European company. If not, maybe private investment can be found.
Either way, I am currently working on the script...almost finished... and I am hoping for the best.
Q: In the past, you've mentioned such tantalizing plot elements as a "fortified city" and an "ignoring the problem" subtext. Is there anything else you can tell us about DEAD 4?
A: A "fortified city" is central to the plot. Fat Cats and "Smarties" have decided to "reclaim" their lives...despite obvious difficulties, which plays into the "ignoring the poblem" subtext.
The only other thing I'm willing to say is that DEAD 4, if it happens, is going to be fabulous... a great big bundle of shock and entertainment that will make you sing and dance all the way to your grave site.
Q: When the fourth DEAD film is made, are you keeping the ever-increasing DVD-buying public in mind, as far as commentaries, deleted scenes, special effects studies, etc. are concerned?
A: Yes. J.B. Destiny and I have been discussing a video documentation of the entire process, beginning to end.
Back From the Dead... Again... And Again... And Once Again
(But still can't get enough of'em!)
While appearing at the Motor City Comicon this past weekend, makeup wizard Tom Savini told our scooper the following: George Romero has written 40 pages of the new Dead movie, and when asked if Savini would be doing the SFX for the movie, replied "I certainly hope to!"