ZACK SNYDER: I am SUPER STOKED about the new monsters in ARMY OF THE DEAD.
WARNER BROTHERS: Yeah, well you literally reinvented the zombie genre with that profitable 2004 movie that made fast zombies popular. Can’t wait to see how you turn another old favorite on its head and make it your own this time.
ZS: I KNOW, RIGHT?! But this time, we’re upping the game by like a lot and this monster will be EPIC. They are fast, fierce, can leap tens of feet into the air and trot on all fours along the walls and over debris.
WB: Very “World War Z”
ZS: But better because I’m Zack Snyder.
WB: Go on.
ZS: AND, the BEST part. They are cunning hunters that live as a family inside a Vegas casino. They hunt by scent. AND they have social…things.
WB: ….morals, mores, and folkways?
ZS: SURE! They have an honor system. Like, if you want them to leave you alone in their territory, you have to sacrifice someone.
WB: Wait, you have to kill a person and the bloodthirsty flesh eaters won’t kill anyone else?
ZS: Right, cuz they have a CODE. And an ALPHA male that takes a mate and everyone follows them.
WB: Right. Um. These monsters…
ZS: ARE COOL, right?
WB: Are they werewolves?
ZS: … nnnoooo?
WB: Because they seem a lot like werewolves.
ZS: No! They’re zombies! I’m the “Dawn of the Dead” fast zombie guy!
WB: Sure sure. But. They are pack animals that hunt by scent. Alpha male dominance… they are fast and strong and agile…
ZS: And they GROWL and crawl along the ground on all fours like contortionists on cocaine…
ZS: BITCH THERE AIN’T NO FULL MOON!
WB: Yeah, I know, but…in terms of stretching the mythology of the monster, I get making them fast and fierce because that’s scary but its’ still in the general wheelhouse of flesh-chewing dead people with no self-awareness, just unrelenting hunger.
ZS: Isn’t that exactly what I just fucking said?
WB: No. What you’ve done is cross over into a different, existing monster that has all the traits you describe.
ZS: Super Zombies?
WB: No. Werewolf.
ZS: AGAIN! NO FULL MOON, JACK! HOW CAN THEY BE WEREWOLVES IF THERE’S NO FULL MOON?! IT’S NOT CREATIVELY POSSIBLE TO DEVIATE THAT FAR FROM THE MONSTER’S ORIGINS!!!
WB: Make them Man-Wolves, then. They hunt in packs, they are smart, hella more dangerous with teeth and claws…and they have social customs that would justify calling them an “army”…just not of the dead.
ZS: But, there’s this whole thing about having to evacuate Las Vegas and zombie strippers eating fat gamblers and Liberace impersonators, Elvises shambling up Freemont…
WB: Wouldn’t it be more fitting for wolves to be the monster consuming everything glitzy and glam? It’s like the perfect metaphor for…
ZS: ZOMBIES! Marketing agrees with me!
MARKETING GOON: Yeah. Target demo shows +20% visibility for Snyder and zombies versus any kind of where-the-wolf thing, so we don’t give two shits about mythology or monsters.
WB: Wow. We’ll work on that. So, what’s the story?
ZS: (It’s an elevator pitch for a ride in a skyscraper)
WB: So it’s Resident Evil meets Three Kings meets The Dirty Dozen with Ocean’s Eleven.
ZS: Like…all of them?
WB: Oh, and Peninsula.
ZS: What’s that?
WB: The sequel to Train to Busan?
ZS: Not sure I…
WB: Peninsula was also a heist picture inside a zombie-clogged city. And a LOT of CGI.
ZS: Is the Peninsula a monster like a zombie?
WB: And you made me want to go watch Aliens again based on all the notes and beats that…well…were from Aliens.
MG: YES! MARKETING! Don’t make them think it’s new, make them think it is something they already LIKE!
WB: Yes, but…
ZS: You describe the movie like…like this isn’t a totally original and fresh take on the zombie-action genre.
WB: Well, It sounds like the log line on Rotten Tomatoes will read, “It’s a lot of dumb fun. I think if you keep it around the ninety minute mark, it’ll be a great popcorn movie for late summ-
ZS: LESS THAN 2 HOURS?! Maybe if I ran all the slow-mo shots at regular speed. I’m Zack-friggin-Snyder, people want to count the bullet casings falling to the floor. They want to marvel in the splash pattern of a single tear while listening to two verses of a folk song! And my movies have HEART. There has to be a subplot of family disfunction to relate to my core audience!
WB: “family disfunction” is “heart”?
ZS: Real human conflict to anchor the fantastical world I’m weaving for audiences, like that talk between Lois Lane and Martha Kent in Justice League.
WB: Sure. Whatever.
ZS: And I’m gonna shoot it in these cool, old lenses that make everything look like we’re all out in the desert with near-sightedness and dry-eye – a TRUE immersive experience. And 4:3 aspect ratio.
ZS: My true IMAX vision is 4:3.
WB: This concept ain’t IMAX money material, babe. Sorry. How about $50 million and we let you have total control?
ZS: Fifty. For the effects budget, or…?
ZS: I don’t understand.
WB: We’re throwing you high seven figures to jerk off all over Justice League again, aren’t we?
ZS: Oh, I don’t think.
WB: Take it or leave it.
NETFLIX: Oh hai, guys. You has movie idea?
WB: How the hell did you get in here?
NETFLIX: I live in all your devices. Hey, Zack…let’s chat.