Every year the LA Times Hero Complex Film Festival screens awesome genre films and brings in the creators for an on-stage chat with Hero Complex mastermind Geoff Boucher. Previous years have seen the likes of Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott, to name a few.
Friday night got this year’s festivities started with a double dose of zombie mayhem. First they screened Zack Snyder’s version of DAWN OF THE DEAD, along with a highlight reel of season 2 of THE WALKING DEAD. Then, Snyder and creator of THE WALKING DEAD, Robert Kirkman, chatted zombies. After that was SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg!
Below are some highlights of the Snyder / Kirkman chat. There are some potential spoilers for THE WALKING DEAD, but I’ve put them at the end of the article and labeled them. You can also find images and another take on the events at the Hero Complex site.
Kirkman joked the main reason he was there was to bug Zack Snyder for details about SUPERMAN. When they were talking about DAWN OF THE DEAD, he asked, “How does it differ, and can you give specific examples, to your SUPERMAN movie?” Later Kirkman joked, “I just saw AVENGERS. Are you going to have a scene at the end, after the credits.” Snyder: “We don’t do that.” Boucher: “I think Darkseid would be fantastic!” Snyder: “A musical number, that would be cool at the very end.” Kirkman (jokingly), “I have to say it was very exciting meeting you, and I’m very sorry that we’re never going to get to talk again.”
On SUPERMAN, all Snyder would say is: “It’s going really good, actually. I’m just cutting right now... I’m really excited about it. It’s fun to work on. It’s gigantic and crazy.”
When asked about horror influences, Kirkman cited George Romero, but said he was never allowed to watch horror movies as a kid, except once a year, on Halloween. “So every year I either got HELLRAISER, or HELLRAISER 2.” Because he didn’t watch, most 80s horror movies, like FRIDAY THE 13th, until he was older, he thought they were kind of hokey, and he didn’t enjoy them as much as he wishes he did. “So I’m going to make my kids watch them when they’re like 10. I don’t even think I’m going to tell them. Just watch this with me!” Snyder explained the importance of Romero in creating the modern day zombie, but joked that he thinks Romero wants to fight him. “He [Romero] was on a talk show and they said, ‘Snyder, what do you think, could you take him? And he was like, ‘Yeah!’” He went on to explain that, in actuality they’ve met several times, and have never come to blows. But I think we’ve got an idea for this year’s Fantastic Debates!
Kirkman joked, “That would be like a battle between Superman and Zod, right!” Snyder (jokingly): “I have no idea what that’d be like, so...” Boucher: “That’s alarming, you should by now!” Snyder, “You’re implying, Zod, whoever that is...” Kirkman: “Who would be easier to fight, George Romero or Alan Moore?” Snyder, “I’ll take George. Alan... will cast a spell on you!” Geoff: “I asked him about your movie, and he said he’ll be spitting venom on your movie for months, that was the quote.” Snyder: “For months? That seems like not a long time! I thought it would be like for eons.” Snyder: “The way he described the magic he posses is through.. because he’s able to create words that in a thousand years people will still read, he kills your immortal soul.”
Geoff: “Which did you find more strident and alarming, zombie fans or Watchmen fans? Snyder: “Zombie fans, for sure... The Watchmen fans... you can reason with them. When they have you in an alley, you can talk your way kind of out of it.”
Kirkman (to Zack): “Do you prefer running zombies or slow zombies?” Snyder: “You mean shamblers or runners, if you want to get technical?... You know what, I don’t have a preference. I love the show. I love WALKING DEAD.” Kirkman: “You know what, I don’t have a preference either. Seriously, I know you sometimes get some flak for the running zombies, but the thing is there’s room for all kinds of zombies, and the zombies in your movie are totally goddamn awesome... I get it too, because every now and then we have a zombie on WALKING DEAD that’s, uh, getting a little too fast.” Snyder: “People on the forums: ‘What the fuck!’” Kirkman: “He had some ground to cover!”
Boucher asked Snyder whether he’d go back to zombies. Snyder: “We wrote a script, and we were gonna... actually we wrote this cool zombie thing, and we were going to do it -- Matthijs was going to direct it, the guy who directed THE THING. We wanted to do this really big budget zombie thing, you know, and really say... how far can we take this genre. And the studio, they said yes, but they really said yes at a certain price point, and I felt like we really couldn’t deliver the movie we promised them for that, so we all agreed that maybe we should wait and try it some other time.”
SPOILER ALERT for the WALKING DEAD show and comic below.
Kirkman was asked about the challenges of working on both the WALKING DEAD comic and show simultaneously. He had just finished writing WALKING DEAD #99, and an early draft of the script for the 3rd season, episode 8. He said, “It’s weird going back and forth, but it’s kind of cool.... It’s a strange process. I was working on the script of the 8th episode, and I kept going, “oh yeah, Rick has two hands! Oh crap I think I revealed the second hand in the 8th episode, I guess that could technically be a spoiler.”
The following is probably more joke than spoiler, but just in case...
And later, when Kirkman was asked whether he ever was moved to tears by something he’s written. “A lot of people think that I’m like, ‘Ohh yeah, cut that guy’s head off, this is going to be awesome. Let’s kill some more babies! Sweet.’ But uh.. a fair amount of babies die in the comic. We haven’t gotten a lot of baby death in the show yet, but it’s coming!” But he admitted, “Every now and then I’m writing a scene and I tear up because I’m killing somebody I’ve been writing for 30 issues....”