Your upcoming movie Escaping the Dead - in a few words, what
is it about?
The film starts during a
typical day for the lead character, David. David is a marijuana pusher,
but he is the kind of dealer who smokes more than he sells. In the meantime the country has been
hit by a new death drug, and when David and his partner in crime Ahmir are
offered some exceptionally cheap cocaine, they see it as an opportunity to
earn big money at a techno concert the following Friday. But the cocaine
turns out to have a terrible side effect, creating a huge zombie outbreak
that spreads across the entirety of Copenhagen. The film then follows
David and his bloody fight out of the city.
Basic question: Why a zombie movie, is this
a genre at all dear to you? And what can you tell us about Escaping the
Dead's take on zombies, and what will make the film stand out of the
big crowd of zombie movies?
Zombie movies and the
horror genre in general have always been dear to me, and making a zombie
movie has always been one of my biggest dreams.
The zombies in Escaping the
Dead will be a mix of different infected: Runners, walkers and a
new kind we call "CRACKERS" (the last kind is the ones who got
infected from taking the drug) wich is gonna
be the most evil kind of zombie you could imagine. Besides that, the movie is taking place during a couple of days, so
as we get further in the film, the zombies are gonna get more and more
rotten to look at.
This movie will stand out from the crowd because we have a original plot
that hasn't been used a 100 times before, we use original types of
caracters and there is always something going on in the film, we won't let
the audience get bored in this one.
How did the project get off the
Me and my co-director
Bastian had been talking about making a new movie for a while, and when I had the money for it we just decided to make a short film, but after
shooting for the 3rd time we realized that we had way too much footage for
it to be a short, so we just expanded the script and cast and decided to do
a full movie instead.
have to talk about your co-director and star Bastian Brinch Pederson for a
bit, and what's your collaboration like, and how did you hook up in the
We do talk a
lot, but we're also good
friends. we write, edit and do our
special effects together. I first met Bastian at a party, when I was around 14 or 15
years old, and it turned out that both of us were making movies
and special effects in our free time, so we just started working together
from there and became very good friends over the next few years. When
we are out shooting, its typically goes down like this: We meet up the night before the shootings
at our selected location, we go
through the script and agree on how the whole scene is gonna be shot. On
the day of shooting we have people coming over for makeup in the first 9
hours of the day, afterwards we go out, and Bastian steps into his role as
David, and then I do all the directing out there. If we're more than 25
people at a time, me and Bastian split up the cast in zombies and
survivors, we'll take a group each and direct them into the scenario
before shooting. Once we're done, we send people home and start the
editing right away so that we won't have a long post-production later on.
Do talk about the
film's look and feel for a bit if you can?
Everything on the film is
gong as planned, even better actually. The quality of the film is pretty
high even though its a low-budget indie. Much of the scenes a very intense
and grabbing, you get the idea that the main caracter could die at any
moment. I personally think that this is gonna stand out alot from what people are
used to see in those kind of movies.
Zombie movies almost
invariably suggest blood and guts - so you obviously have to talk about
your gore effects for a bit, and is there a line you refuse to cross?
Me and Bastian have over
9 years of self-taught experience with blood and special FX, many of the
zombies in the movie have exposed bones, deep wounds and nasty flesh that
rots more and more as we go through this film. The zombies in the
trailer are from the first day of infection in the movie. We produce our
own fake life-size corpses to use as props or when someone is getting
their head chopped off. Long story short: There will be lots of blood and
gore in this. I'm so tired of zombie movies only showing 15% gore in the
whole film. This is gonna be 40% story 60% hardcore zombie splatter. We're
gonna cross as many lines as possible and I can already say that we're
planning for zombie kids and victims too.
talk about Escaping the Dead's key cast for a bit, and why
exactly these people?
There are the two main
caracters: David and Ahmir (Bastian Brinch Pedersen and Rama Øzel).
Why does Bastian have a role in his own film is a question many people ask, and
as a answer I can only say that his personal style just fits the
describition of the caracter David. so since I have alot of acting
experience from my younger days I started teaching Bastian as well as I could and he picked it up really fast and good.
Rama Øzel is an old classmate from acting school, when I started making
movies, he continued as an actor. I saw Rama very fitting for the part as
Ahmir since he has Turkish background, so I contacted him and had him try
out the role, and after some hard work he picked it up as well. So now when
we had the two main caracters, we could begin the rest of the cast and we
found many and are still finding alot of people for the film through
and Danish Facebook pages for actors.
Along the casting we came across Kim Sønderholm [Kim
Sønderholm interview - click here], a Danish professional
actor (The Winedancers, The Gray Gold) ,who got the role as Lars, a
policeofficer that David comes across during the outbreak. We're also
gonna meet many different survivors through the film.
What can you tell us about the
actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?
We typically start at 12
in the afternoon having people over for makeup, and everything starts out
calm and smooth, but as we and the rest of the crew and people meet through the day, things get more
and more busy, we have a tight schedule but
we always make in time without stressing out. The atmosphere on the set is
good, people are happy and social with each other, and when on camera
everyone gives it 100%. One thing is common everytime we're out shooting,
we scare the hell out of people walking by, and very often there is
someone threatening to call the cops on us because we're scaring them or
their kids. Funny thing is we always have permission from the police
when we're shooting :) But besides from that we get a lot of curious people
coming by. A lot who want selfies with me and Bastian, hehe.
$64-question of course: When and where will the film be released onto the
The movie will be
finished in the fall of 2014, but I can't tell you any release date yet.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Me and Bastian have some
future projects in mind but they are being keept secret for now.
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
When I was around 12 years
old I began watching my first horror movies, and I remember the dream of
being a director started there. When I came across independent horror
movies a year later I thought "okay, I don't have to go Hollywood
style to be a director. There is an actual chance here" - so I started
to make short movies with a dude from my school until me and Bastian
started working together. In the years from 2008-2012 I worked on special effects on many film school
productions, and there I also learned
alot more about professional ways of doing it. So I haven't been educated
at an actual movie school, but I have so many years experience with
results that I work just as good. I have been every way around a production and
know how things have to be done. Bastian on other hand has spent some
years on a film school and has therefore some more tecnical wisdom on how
to use the right equipment for the shootings. Bastian has also been
working with special effects since he was a kid.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Escaping the Dead?
lot of short movies and a full test film: Rædslernes Tunnel
(Tunnel of Terror), A Chronicle of Violence, Forest of
the Living Dead, Back from the Dead (Full), Mobning og
Selvmord (bullying and suicide).
would you describe yourself as a director?
with a burning passion for making movies. Good with his crew, and not
affraid of challenges or telling people what to do. I know what I want and
how to get it.
who inspire you?
Lars Von Trier, Peter
Jackson, George A. Romero.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Braindead, Night of the
Living Dead, The Shining,
Evil Dead, Grave Encounters,
Christiane F, Nordkraft.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Hmm, the Meat Market-trilogy is probably the worst i've ever seen,
the House of the Dead-movie and Jason X.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think we got everything
that needed to be said for now, but you can check out the movies' trailer
(It's in Danish and there will come one with subtitles later on.)
for the interview!