Friday, August 13, 2004

Shaun of the Dead SF Advance Screening/Q&A

Just got back from the advance screening of 'Shaun of the Dead' in San Francisco. My buddy had already seen it and had been telling me how rad it was. So I ditched work for an hour to head to the other side of the City to pick up a pass.

Audience pretty much went nuts for it. I thought it kicked all kinds of ass over '28 Days Later' and '29 Days Later' (aka 'Dawn of the Dead' redux). To put things in perspective, I didn't think 'Dawn Redux' was all that bad taken by itself, but fast zombies = not all that rad. Looking forward to checking out the unrated version, though. And '28 Days Later' I thought was ok (Personally, I don't consider it a zombie flick, but a contagion flick). I'm big on 'Evil Dead 2,' 'Return of the Living Dead' (1 and 2), and, of course, the original Romero movies (I even like the Savini 'Night' remake).

And, I thought 'Resident Evil' was one of the worst piles of crap I'd ever seen.

So, to 'Shaun of the Dead.' Lots to like, nothing to really dislike. Could use more gore maybe (the classic 'Day of the Dead' belly rip homage was pretty darn cool, though) and a little nudity wouldn't have hurt. It's tagged as a 'romantic comedy zombie flick' and that's exactly what it is. You'll laugh, you'll cry, maybe get an arm squeeze or two from your girlfriend sitting in the next seat. Well, except for all the TalkBackers, who will have to squeeze themselves (y'all should be used to it).

Not much more to add to the praise being heaped on this flick. Hope the hype meter doesn't get TOO out of control, but it's definitely one to put on the watch list. Sept. 24. Mark it on the calendars.


Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg came out before the show started and gave a little intro. Simon did most of the talking. They didn't say too much and nothing of importance that I can remember at the moment. Then they rolled film. Afterward, they talked for 10, maybe 15 min. answering questions. What I can remember:

  • Shot on 35mm, not digital. They felt digital wasn't as effective. Mentioned look of '28 Days Later' and I wish I could remember their exact take on it.

  • Mostly physical effects, some blood done CGI. [Some of the blood did remind me a little of the recent Zatoichi flick, but not nearly as obnoxious]

  • They did some comic adaptations for some of the zombie characters' stories (e.g., the wedding guy), might do something like that for Yvonne's character (not likely a sequel or anything).

  • 'Asylum' [TV show before 'Spaced'] not likely to ever see the light of day due to rights issues. Clip of that show to be on 'Spaced' DVDs coming out soon.

  • Trying to get 'Spaced' shown in the US but rights issues need to be worked out

  • Season 3 os 'Spaced' was on hold while they did SOTD. Can't remember when/if they'd get back to it.

  • Talked about fast zombies vs. slow zombies and why slow zombies were superior. Much creepier and basically backed up all the 'slow zombies are better' arguments I've read here and elsewhere. Didn't bag on '28 Days Later' for it (since it's a contagion flick not a zombie movie really) and said they are buds w/ those guys. Bagged on 'Dawn of the Dead' remake a little. Simon thought the first 10 minutes were good, then went downhill.

  • Talked about not really changing anything from UK release and not trying to tone down English (as in UK)-dialogue for a more easily translatable Trans-Atlantic film. They asked the audience if we had any problems w/ the accents and everyone said 'nope.' He said that's cuz we weren't stupid like all the suits think we are. Mentioned changing one line: The zombie in the backyard they referred to as 'she's really pissed' in the script, while it's 'she's really drunk' in the movie. ['Pissed' in the UK meaning 'hella drunk,, obviously.]

  • One line in the movie that gets big laughs in UK never gets a peep in the US. Can't remember the line now, but when Shaun asks Ed if he wants anything from the store he says 'bring me a [blank]' and the [blank] is akin to a Drumstick[TM] here in the States. I guess that's funny. Must be an English thing.

  • Rumor of them being in 'Land of the Dead' greatly exagerrated. They talked to Romero at one point on the phone (Romero having seen the movie and loved it), and Wright was saying 'so, we'll do cameos as zombies in LOTD, right, right [nudge, nudge]' and Romero said 'uh, yea, sure, whatever'. Then when an interviewer asked Romero about it, he said 'uh, yea, sure, whatever'

  • But, Simon and Edgar did have molds taken at KNB on Monday (by the same guy who did Bub in 'Day of the Dead'  [which, apparently, according to Edgar, isn't all that fun when you're really hungover]

Well, that's all I can remember at the moment. I think there was at least one person taking notes and trying to ask multiple questions, so maybe they'll be sending something in as well.

Great frickin' movie.


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