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EXCL: What Happened to the Zack Snyder-Produced Army of the Dead?

Director on the undead Las Vegas epic

Back when I was visiting the set of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen in 2007, there was a bit of momentum building for an ambitious Snyder-produced zombie film called Army of the Dead.

Snyder was excited about his recent hiring of talented commercials director Matthijs van Heijningen (pictured) who was going to bring Joby Harold’s Army script to life.

The film was set in a quarantined Las Vegas in the not-too-distant future. A young woman attempts to investigate the cause of the outbreak and becomes trapped in the city’s walls. Her father teams up with a group of mercenaries to rescue her. He’s out to save his daughter, the armed thugs want to loot still in the casinos. But the mission isn’t easy, of course.

It’s been four years since that set visit and Army of the Dead still hasn’t come to fruition. What gives?

Van Heijningen offered Shock the lowdown: “We were in pre-production for Warner Bros. – this was around October 2008 – and the movie became bigger and bigger [budget-wise] because it was so difficult to shoot in Las Vegas. Then the financial crisis happened, Wall Street collapsed and Warner Bros. pulled the plug. We were storyboarding and casting, but it fell apart. It was an expensive movie.”

The director had to move on to Universal’s The Thing (opening October 14), but he’s not ready to put Army of the Dead behind him just yet. The project may still happen.

“After a few years of not working on it, you have to re-adjust to the project, but it was a great film,” he says. “We had crazy zombies raping human females making hybrid zombies and stuff, it was just nasty.”

As for future projects, Van Heijningen says Army is on the table, but what he’s looking for is a good horror-comedy. “One of my all-time favorites is An American Werewolf in London. It’s a great character piece, and it’s a weird dark comedy. Even something like Rosemary’s Baby is funny because of the weird neighbors. So, I’m looking for something that has weird, twisted comedy and pure horror.”

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor