With Army of the Dead, Netflix is about to kick off its own Snyder-Verse. Who needs superheroes when you have the zombie apocalypse?
Since the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, campaigning has been ongoing for Warner Bros. to greenlight the rest of his ‘trilogy’. While DCEU loyalists go to war online, it’s still a great time to be a Snyder fan.
Netflix is about to drop Army of the Dead, his action-packed zombie heist movie that marks the start of an exciting new chapter in both the director and streaming service’s life.
Ahead of its release, we sat down with Snyder to discuss the film and impending extended universe. The launchpad revolves around an audacious mission: on Bly Tanaka’s (Hiroyuki Sanada) promise of $50 million, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) assembles a team to break into an undead-infested Las Vegas and empty a casino’s safe before the US government drops a massive nuke. You may be in, you may be out, but you must be intrigued.
Snyder emerged as a notable talent with his Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004; ferocious, bloodthirsty and still frightening to this day. His return to the genre after years of superhero movies (and that thing about the owls) was a major cause for excitement – both for us and him.
‘We did get a chance to go for it a little bit on this movie – and it was fun, frankly. I was kind of missing a little bit of that sort of hard-R, no-restraint violence that you can only do in a movie, at that level. I would say the movie has a lot of violence, but it also has a lot of heart. It’s a movie that has quite a payoff,’ he said.
As for whether it’s officially connected to Dawn, the answer is a firm no, bar one Easter Egg. ‘When Tig [Notaro] is looking through her phone, it says something about an outbreak in Milwaukee. That’s the closest I got to really homaging it too much,’ he said.
For Snyder, Army of the Dead may share DNA with his debut, but it’s packing so much more. ‘It’s really in a lot of ways more of a genre deconstruction, rather than a zombie movie construction. Other than, of course, like any good zombie movie, it has to have social commentary and all of those things. But in the end, it’s more those seminal genre movies like the original Planet of the Apes, Escape from New York, The Thing and Aliens – it owes more to that than the zombie genre,’ he said.
While the Snyder Cut was an uphill battle with Warner Bros., the result of a studio surrender and gamble, Army of the Dead was smooth sailing from the off. ‘I had a completely different experience with Netflix than I’ve had in a while, making a movie. They were 100% supportive of this crazy IP that I’d created,’ he said.
He continued, ‘Not only were they supportive, I’m doing an animated series [Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas], we did a prequel [Army of Thieves] we’ve already shot in Europe. It’s high-priority for them, and they’ve treated it with real respect. That’s amazing… there’s a huge mythological world we’ve created that Shay [Hatten] and I have worked out for this zombie universe.’
The question remains: are we seeing everything? Fortunately, Netflix was happy to unleash no-holds-barred Snyder. ‘You don’t need to wait four years for the Snyder Cut of Army of the Dead, you get to see it on May 21,’ he said.
That creative relationship could even lead to some sort of exclusivity deal, if the platform plays it cards right. ‘Maybe… I’m more just interested in making more movies with them. They’ve been such great partners, so my main interest is making big movies with them and having them able to push a button and 200 million people have it on their TV,’ Snyder said.
Army of the Dead hits Netflix on May 21.
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