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George A. Romero talks about Road of the Dead

Back in May there came word of George A. Romero’s Road of the Dead. The project was written by Romero and Matt Birman, who is attached to direct. This will be the next zombie film following Survival of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Land of the Dead. Birman served as second unit director on all three movies.

The story is set on an island where zombie prisoners race cars in a modern-day Coliseum for the entertainment of wealthy humans.

Birman describes the project as “Road Warrior” meets “Rollerball” at a Nascar race, with significant inspiration from “Ben-Hur.”

Romero was talking to Rue Morgue about the film and shared some more information on it.

It was Matt Birman’s idea and it’s actually based on a sequence in SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD where there’s a zombie in a car, bumping bumpers. Matt’s done all my stuntwork ever since I’ve been in Canada, and he pitched me the concept right after we had finished that film; he said, ‘Why don’t we do a stunt movie where the zombies drive?’ He wrote the original draft, and then I stepped in and we wound up co-writing the rest.

It’s set in a sanctuary city where this fat cat runs a haven for rich folks, and one of the things that he does is stage drag races to entertain them. There’s a scientist there doing genetic experiments, trying to make the zombies stop eating us, and he has discovered that with a little tampering, they can recall certain memory skills that enable them to drive in these races. So it’s a demolition derby with zombies at the wheels, and of course the shit hits the fan in other ways. It’s really a romp; it’s great fun, with stunts galore.

I’ve always felt that even in LAND, it’s remembered behavior, you know? I don’t think of them as sentient. Big Daddy in LAND finally pulls the trigger on that gun after carrying it around for half the movie, and it’s learned—‘Oh, I remember this!’ It’s just recalled behavior, which is more dangerous, actually.

This one is really almost a comedy, though it’s got scares and spooky moments and all that. It’s more about suspense than blood. While there is gore, it’s not overt; there are no big, operatic sequences where people get torn apart. There’s slapstick in it, but it’s mostly stunts; it’s quite different. One character dies, for example, in a tragic way, but was once in NASCAR and is able to come back and drive. It’s that kind of looney-tunes. It’s really THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS with zombies.

Not sure whether I like the sound of that or not.

There is no word on the cast at the moment, but at the very least there should be some memorable scenes in the new film.

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