Your new movie There's No Such Thing as Zombies - in a few
words, what is it about?
It's Love in the Time of the Zombie Outbreak: While in the
wider world, real and imagined experts argue about how to deal with
zombies or whether to acknowledge their existence even, a woman (Eirian Cohen [Eirian
Cohen interview - click here]) and two men (Rudy
Barrow interview - click here] and Rami Hilmi [Rami
Hilmi interview - click here]) find themselves in a love
triangle - and one of them's a zombie ...
Now how did the project fall
together to begin with?
Well, originally I was only commissioned to write the movie, not to
produce it at all, but when the original producer bailed, I figured this
script is just too good to not have it made (and yes, I am that conceited), looked
and found a great partner-in-crime in my leading lady Eirian Cohen, and
between the two of us we got things rolling. It was she who actually
brought our director Eddie Bammeke [Eddie
Bammeke interview - click here] on board, who became a great
partner-in-crime as well.
There's No Such Thing as Zombies
uses large junks out of an earlier short of yours, Talk of the Dead - so
what can you tell us about that movie of yours, and was There's No Such Thing as Zombies
actually a mere afterthought?
Haha, actually Talk of the Dead
was the afterthought, none of that movie was in the original script.
Actually the idea for Talk of the Dead
only came about at the time I was deciding to produce the movie myself,
and out of nowhere got a message from Lynn Lowry asking me if she could
join the project. Now even notwithstanding that I've been a longtime fan
of Lynn's, what better could happen to a zombie movie than to have the
leading lady of George A. Romero's The
Crazies in it? So I wrote the segment in which she stars in into There's No Such Thing as Zombies
as the movie's backbone - Greek choir if you will -, it's basically a news show discussing whether
zombies are real. Now back when, I didn't have the budget together to
shoot the full feature, but enough for these newsroom scenes, so I decided
to make a short out of the newsroom scenes with its own story arc, and
even a few fake commercials, in the hope of attracting investors. And
somehow the short developed a life of its own, with a successful festival
run and quite a few awards - so the gamble did pay off, fortunately.
Rudy Barrow, Rami Hilmi, Eirian Cohen
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing There's No Such Thing as Zombies?
Well, I wrote the screenplay almost immediately after my first
script, A Killer
Conversation, got filmed back in 2012 (and also brought that
movie's leads Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi along for There's No Such Thing as Zombies),
so the experience of that earlier shoot was certainly an inspiration,
inasmuch as it taught me a lot about writing for a modest buget. Other
than that, I'm a big fan of zombie cinema in general, from George A.
Romero's early masterpieces to underbudgeted and ill-written Italian
knock-offs from the 1980s, so safe to say I knew a thing or two about
genre tropes. But that said, I didn't want to make your typical zombie
movie, so I ignored most of these tropes and instead asked the question,
what if someone didn't believe in zombies? I mean, in the real world, would
you believe in zombies? And that question already developed its own
dynamic that informed the plot.
Do talk about There's No Such Thing as Zombies'
approach to horror and the zombie genre!
As hinted at
above, I didn't want this to be your typical zombie movie but something
that speaks to a wider audience. Sure, the movie still has its violence,
but even to these scenes there's a comedic spin. Other than that I wanted
to concentrate on other aspects of zombiedom, even subverting some genre
mainstays, like making my zombie hunters the least effective characters of
the film. And I also wanted to go back to the roots of modern zombie films
(as in: Romero's early movies) and use the premise as source for satire
and social commentary.
Alexander Fernando, Lynn Lowry, Rachel
Brownstein, Martina McClements,
A few words about There's No Such Thing as Zombies'
brand of humour?
I guess it's a little bit of everything,
there's above-mentioned satire, there's (genre-)irony aplenty, there's comicbook violence, there's
situation comedy, poignant dialogue, even bits of slapstick. People have
referred to the humour in There's No Such Thing as Zombies as
"very British", which I, a born-and-bred Austrian, take as a
huge compliment of course..
What can you tell us about There's No Such Thing as Zombies'
director Eddie Bammeke [Eddie
Bammeke interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
Well, in a recent interview, Eddie described me as
"not a complete dick", and I can only return the compliment.
More seriously, I loved working with Eddie and will do so again in the
future. I think we complement one another greatly because we have totally
different temperaments but the same good work ethic, and we never lose
sight of our goal. Plus, neither of us is interested in stepping on the
other's toes, which sure helps with keeping things on track. Plus, on There's No Such Thing as Zombies
he's gone above and beyond his mere duty as a director, and really
Quite aside from this, he's a total madman of course, and
has over the years become one of my best friends for that. That said, interestingly
enough he was only a last minute replacement for the original director
back when we shot Talk of the Dead,
but I couldn't be happier how things turned out.
What were the challenges of bringing
There's No Such Thing as Zombies
to the screen from a producer's point of view?
Debra Lamb, Scott Hillier
You mean apart from scenes being washed out by torrential rain (that's
what you get for filming in the UK) and locations falling through? Nothing
major I guess, but I have to admit I relied heavily on Eirian Cohen and
Eddie Bammeke on the production side of things, simply because they were
local for the shoots and I had to fly in all the way over from Austria - so
hats off to them for all their hard work.
you tell us about There's No Such Thing as Zombies's cast,
and as writer and producer, how much say did you have in the casting?
was really a threeway split between me, Eirian Cohen [Eirian
Cohen interview - click here] and Eddie Bammeke. As mentioned,
I brought in Rudy
Barrow interview - click here] and Rami Hilmi [Rami
Hilmi interview - click here], and Eirian in fact, plus our
American guest stars Lynn Lowry and Debra Lamb [Debra Lamb interview -
click here], the others were not my doing, but I was totally happy
with my entire cast:
Eirian, Rudy and Rami were great in the leads,
absolutely hilarious, and they had such great chemistry.
Lynn I've long
been a fan of, and she delivered a spot-on performance. I've worked with
her a few times since, the last being 2019's Ready
for My Close Up and have become good friends with her. And it's
indeed more likely than not that I'll work with her again in the near
Likewise, Debra I've long been a fan of, and after I did an
interview with her back in 2012 [click
here], we became good (online-)friends, so it was only natural
that for the first role that would be a fit I had for her I'd fly her over -
and boy, did she not disappoint, she's hilarious in our movie. And she's
another person I'll defintiely work with again in the future!
Hillier as Debra's on-screen partner-in-crime is pretty much as funny,
they very quickly developed this fittingly odd on-screen chemistry that
makes their scenes special.
Alexander Fernando [Alexander
Fernando interview - click here] and Rachel Brownstein [Rachel
Brownstein interview - click here] play the straight persons
in the newsroom scenes, and they, too, have great on-screen chemistry as
two news anchors - who really hate one another's guts.
Paul Sutton's [Paul
Sutton interview - click here] just hilarious as this
larger-than-life, not too bright and self-righteous zombie hunter, and also
hats off to his zombie Martina McClements for wearing her horrific makeup
for hours on end and still come across as genuinely creepy throughout in
probably one of the silliest zombie skits.
Also kudos to all the other
actors we had in small skits who are just too many to name without leaving
somebody out by accident ;)
Michael with Rami Hilmi
also appear in front of the camera in There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Now that was more of a vanity thing. You see, I love to
be in front of a camera, but I'm well aware of my limitations as an actor
(which includes lack of education and experience), so I kept my
performance small enough so I wouldn't halt the production for too long
should I fuck up.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
The atmosphere was pretty wonderful, but that's
what you get when you surround yourself with wonderful people I guess. Now
we shot large chunks of There's No Such Thing as Zombies in Eddie
Bammeke's flat, and some of us even slept on set, and that certainly
helped when it comes to bonding. Plus everybody had a really good work
ethic and wanted to make the movie the best it can be, and that also works
wonders for the atmosphere. And lastly, I can't but praise the catering by Layla
Randle-Conde interview - click here], as you can't make a good
movie on an empty stomach, and boy did she fill ours with delicacies!!!
The $64-question of course, where There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Come week (October 28th to November 3rd), There's No Such Thing as Zombies
will be playing at the IndieScream (online) Film Festival, so by
all means, if you've got some time (and money) to spare and want to have a
good time, catch it at
As for a more general release, our hope is early next year, but once it's
being released, I'll be sure to plaster the internet with the info!!!
Any future projects you'd like to share?
one, we really hope to shoot a sequel to There's No Such Thing as Zombies,
as there are plenty of ideas unexplored in that universe that would make the
sequel anything but a re-hash. Also, I'm working with Eddie on a wild live
action/animation hybrid, Confusion and the Survivor, plus we have a
few ideas for TV series that will hopefully be greenlit before too long.
And that's really just the tip of the iceberg.
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
There's No Such Thing as Zombies:
And again the festival site: https://indiescream.in.live/
for the interview!
Why thank you for taking the time to talk to me :)