With Night of the Living Dead Live, you are bringing one of
modern horror's most beloved classics Night
of the Living Dead to the stage as - now how did that
project come into being, and whose idea was it originally to turn the film
into a stageplay?
year ago, I was approached by Christopher Harrison [Christopher
Harrison interview - click here] and Phil Pattison [Phil
Pattison interview - click here] from
Nictophobia Films and they pitched me the idea for the show. They already
had the rights from George & company and were keen on making it into
something special. We tossed around ideas for how the show could work. I
gave them my input and blammo... we’re doing a show.
What can you tell us about the writing
process of Night of the Living Dead Live and about your co-writers
Trevor Martin and Dale Boyer, and about your collaboration with them?
time you are re-adapting a previous work, you want to breathe new life
into it by creating a new perspective. Trevor, Dale and I felt strongly
that George’s works always carry a rooted political message amongst all
the terror and fun. With that in mind, we wanted to turn the work on its
ear and do something completely new, while at the same time maintaining
the integrity of the material that has garnered so much cult appeal. No
pressure on us, eh?
close does Night of the Living Dead Live stick to its cinematic
source, and have you taken any major liberties? And were there any
sequences in the film you just couldn't bring to the stage for whatever
a fine line, maintaining that material and keeping the fans satisfied,
while at the same time, re-inventing the wheel. Liberties will be taken
and fans will get to see their favorite story in a whole new way. As far
as limitations goes, naturally there are things that we can’t do on the
stage, but that just challenges us to find ways to make theatrical magic.
How do you plan to tackle your story special
magician never shows his tricks. Come on out and see the fun for yourself.
As far as I know, you want to bring your
play to the stage in black and white, just like the original movie? Why,
how do you plan to do it, and what are the major challenges?
version of the show will play in the time of the film’s story. A lot was
happening in the late 60’s, not just zombies. So we want to work in that
time and be real to the circumstances and thought processes of the day
when it comes to our characters. The black and white optics, underline the
time scope. It will be a challenge to create this black and white
universe, but that’s what designers get paid for.
what I know, George A.Romero, John A.Russo and Russell Streiner, the creators of the original
of the Living Dead, are on board of your show as executive
producers. How hands-on or hands-off are they when it comes to bringing
their creation to the stage?
three of them have been very supportive from the start. We initially
discussed our concept for how it would play out on the stage and they
loved it. It’s fresh and fun, yet maintains their work, whilst spinning
a whole new thread of the journey. We continue to update them with our
progress and they will be pivotal contributors as the play continues to be
What can you tell us about
your collaboration with Night of the Living Dead Live's production
company Nictophobia Films?
John Russo and Russ Streiner with a zombie
of all, Chris and Phil are huge horror fans and Night
of the Living Dead is a part of the reason why they are even in this business
They were the group that spearheaded the campaign with George, Russ and
John and sought after me and the writing team to make something special.
They are stoked to be making this project a reality and have been
supportive and trusting throughout development. They are passionate about
the genre and will make sure that this thing kicks ass.
Anything you can tell us about your cast yet?
Except that it’s going to be packed with hilarious talent.
also want to make Night of the Living Dead Live a bit of an
interactive experience, right? Would you care to elaborate?
you are creating a mysterious or uneasy environment for an audience, you
have to create a world for the audience to live in. Once they are inside,
they are yours.
While the original Night
of the Living Dead has pretty much set the rules for modern zombie
cinema as such, you have recently co-written the script for A
Little Bit Zombie, a film that deconstructs many of Romero's
rules. So what can you tell us about that film?
Little Bit Zombie flips the zombie into the protagonist. As the hero,
he has his own journey. He has goals, fears and conflicts. Many of the
principals are the same, we only swapped the position and the outcome is
hilarious. We try to stick with the understood zombie protocol, but
loosely make a few new rules. Like what happens when you get bit by a
zombie mosquito? Well, you become a little bit zombie.
were your inspirations for writing A
Little Bit Zombie?
idea for the movie simply came from Trevor when he asked the question
“what would happen if you were bit by a zombie mosquito?” The rest was
just gore and ball jokes wrapped around a romantic comedy. Having been a
part of the Evil Dead the Musical process and being such a huge fan of the
films, it wasn’t hard to find the countless homages embedded in our
flick. Trevor, who co-wrote the film with me, and myself also recently got
married. Not to each other. Both of us where able to draw upon some of the
ups and downs of the final moments before walking down the aisle.
As far as I know, another
movie you have co-written with Trevor Martin, the musical Boy Toy,
is currently in preproduction. You just have to talk about that movie for
Toy is another project that Trevor and I are working on. It is the feature
length version of Patch Town, a short film that debuted at TIFF in
2011 and spent all of 2012 on the festival circuit. It’s a dark family
movie, kind of like an old time Disney flick, with a splash of original
music. We’re shooting it in early 2013. Look for it in 2013-2014.
Any other future projects you'd like to talk
Your first main claim to fame was of course
another stage adaptation of a classic horror movie, Evil Dead the
Musical. You just have to talk about that project for a bit, and how
did it get off the ground in the first place?
Dead the Musical was the first thing I did coming out of university.
Nobody would hire me to direct shows so I had to make my own and hire
myself. Evil Dead the Musical ended up blowing up and has been performed
all over the world. There are always new productions popping up and
bleeding on people. Currently we have shows running in Spain and on the
strip in Las Vegas.
experiences with both Evil Dead the Musical and Night of the
Living Dead Live - do you think you can ever be persuaded to bring yet
another classic horror movie to the stage?
not. Unless you got a lot of cash.
What got you
into the showbusiness in the first place, and what can you tell us about
your early days?
started acting in high school. Mostly performing in musicals. I did a lot
the same in university until my last year when I started to direct. I
enjoyed that much more and found myself making Evil Dead the Musical to
give myself that start. That show launched me into the horror genre and
led to developing A
Little Bit Zombie with Trevor. I enjoy writing
and directing and hope to continue to develop commercial film awesomeness
Writers and directors who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks & Sam Raimi.
Little Bit Zombie is the greatest piece of film art to grace
Canadian HMV racks ever. I also enjoy Spaceballs, South Park The
Movie & Evil Dead 2.
... and of course, films you really
with Anne Hathaway. I really don’t know what the fuss is all about.
Your/your play's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
We are encouraging fans to help us make the show with our IndieGoGo
Thanks for the interview!