Matthijs van Heijningen to Raise the Army of the Dead
by Alex Billington
June 4, 2008
We're in need of another great epic zombie film. Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead, Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, 28 Weeks Later, and Fido are all that come to mind when trying to think of great zombie films from the past few years. We've mentioned Army of the Dead a few times previously as a film that has the potential of being the next big zombie hit. There are others in the works, like World War Z and Fragile, but Army of the Dead sounds like its got the makings of a epic and fun zombie film. Producer Zack Snyder has finally landed a director for Army of the Dead - commercial filmmaker and visual artist Matthijs van Heijningen, who will be making his directorial debut.
As a refresher, Army of the Dead is an epic zombie film set in Las Vegas. Zack Snyder actually wrote the story, while Joby Harold (Awake) penned the screenplay. The film is best explained by Zack's wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder. "Basically, something happened in Vegas and there was this huge outbreak of these zombies that were killing people. So to contain it they basically contain Vegas. The city is this wasteland with walls around it and all of these zombies are inside. One of our characters goes in there to investigate and gets trapped inside and her father goes in to search for her. He can't do it alone so he gets a group of mercenaries under the guise that there's money still in the casinos, because they don't care about his daughter."
Zack explains that "we were looking for an inventive talent with a unique voice and we found it in Matthijs." He adds that Matthijs' "ability to infuse humor with irony allows him to create compelling stories in 30 seconds." If you're interested in seeing some of Matthijs' work, the guys over at SlashFilm have put together a great compilation of eight commercials that Matthijs directed. I'm honestly impressed by what I've seen and looking forward to seeing exactly how Matthijs will perform working on a feature film for the first time. This sounds like a project with a lot of potential and I hope Matthijs can pull it off.
Although there have been a few great zombie films recently, I'm really looking forward to World War Z and Army of the Dead. I haven't yet seen a genre-defining zombie film in my time. I missed the original George Romero days and only started getting into zombie films with Dawn of the Dead. Hopefully a few of these in the works turn out great. For those of you that are fans of the zombie genre - what are your feelings on Army of the Dead?