You have recently written the script for the movie Christmas with
the Dead. In a few words, what is it about?
survivor of the zombie apocalypse wants to enjoy something from before the
world went to hell, and decides to do that by creating the Christmas he
always meant to have; zombies be damned.
you actually get involved with Christmas with the Dead, and what
was it that interested you about the project?
father, Joe R. Lansdale [Joe
R. Lansdale interview - click here], the original writer of the short story
With The Dead, was looking for someone to write the screenplay and I
volunteered. I always wanted a chance to work on a bigger project with my
father and this seemed like the perfect chance.
with the Dead is based on a story by your father, Joe R. Lansdale [Joe
R. Lansdale interview - click here], who also executive-produced
the movie. So, were you able to take many liberties with the source
material or did your father keep you on a short leash, storywise? And what
can you tell us about the creative process when writing Christmas with
original short story was really more of a good story idea, but there was a
lot of room for growth. Iím happy to say that the original theme of the
story is still there, but there was never any limitation. I felt pretty
confident knowing that everything would be fine as long as the story
worked. As far as the process, there were certain changes made to the
story before I even signed up to write it. We had a co-star who was never
in the original work and we knew we wanted to flesh out (no pun intended)
the character of the wife Ella, (Kasey Lansdale [Kasey
Lansdale interview - click here]). So it was like being
given a lot of puzzle pieces and having to put it together without any
idea of what the final picture would look like.
Christmas with the Dead's approach
to the living dead?
We took our own approach, and at the same time still stayed true to the
history of what makes a zombie. If youíve read anything by my dad, Iím
happy to say itís Zombies, Lansdale style.
Your personal take on zombies, and
your favourite zombie films, books, comicbooks, whatever?
in general are an interesting subject. Their stories are like national
disaster survivor tales with teeth. Zombies are a chance to live out
fantasies of trying to survive without the lasting effect of having to do
it for the rest of your days. Itís a visual representation of our fear
of death, and itís knocking on the door which scares the hell out of us
and excites us at the same time. The classic zombie movies from Romero are
certainly important, but itís movies like Shaun Of The Dead and
Zombieland that I find myself watching repeatedly.
would you describe your collaboration with Christmas with the Dead's
director Terrill Lee Lankford [Terrill
Lee Lankford interview - click here]?
had a lot of good ideas that made the story even better. We sat down one
afternoon and went through the script and I loved the story I had written,
but I really loved what came out after that day. I knew going in that this
was a group project, but it was helpful that most of the suggestions being
said by almost everyone involved were really good ones. Itís safe to say
that the collaboration with Lankford, the actors and my father really
helped make this into a fun movie.
assume you have visited the filmset every now and again. Could you
describe the feeling of seeing your words come to life?
think the real moment I realized it was seeing the character Ray, played
by my brother-in-law, Adam Coats. When I had created Ray I wanted to make
sure he was memorable, so I gave him this giant ridiculous Christmas tree
hat. Walking on set and seeing Coats wearing that hat was the moment where
I realized, thatís my idea, and it is right in front of me, and itís
have been a prolific writer even before scripting Christmas with the
Dead - would you like to talk about your career so far for a bit?
have been a journalist for five years now, working at the newspaper here
in my home town and now running my own news website for the Nacogdoches
County area. Iíve also worked on a few projects here and there with my
father, adapting comic books and editing a short story anthology.
Thereís also a story my sister and I wrote together when we were young
with Dad in a collection of other authors with their kids.
have also adapted several of your father's stories into comics. How does
adapting a story for comicbook panels differ from adapting it for the big
screen, and where are the similarities?
biggest similarity would have to be the constant visualization of what you
are trying to convey. That certainly exists in any sort of writing, but
with comics and with screenplays, thereís a whole extra filter that the
words have to go through, and that means if they misunderstand and change
your idea, then that idea is lost. Itís even more important to make sure
every message is as clear as possible while writing fiction in a novel,
you can leave certain things up to the imagination of the reader.
projects you'd like to talk about?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
a few ideas bouncing around, but nothing nailed down enough to say for
sure. I do know that something will follow, but I couldnít tell you
exactly what or when.
Writers who have
Biggest influence has certainly been Dad.
Iíve read more of his than anyone else, but his influence has also
existed off the page as well as on.
And since this is a movie site: Your
is a really long list, and I have to leave a lot out: The Back To The
Future-series, Dogma, Army of
Darkness, Fifth Element, Full Metal Jacket,
Finding Forester, Fight Club, the new Sherlock
Holmes, Mystery Men, just
about everything Mel Brooks did, The Office, Taken, Shrek,
O Brother Where Art Thou, Casablanca,
Stand By Me, Space Cowboys, Gran
TorinoÖ I could do this all day.
... and of course, films you really
film of all time is, Manos: Hands of
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
have my news website thatís no interest to anyone outside of
for the interview!