Army Of the Dead director Zack Snyder reveals why zombies are more fun than superheroes

When director Zack Snyder started filming his zombie heist movie Army Of the Dead in 2019, like the rest of the world he had no idea what was just around the corner.

But looking at it now, a global catastrophe due to a virus – in this case a zombie apocalypse – and the protective measures and social disruption that follow it, all of a sudden don't seem so far-fetched.

“Absolutely,” says Snyder with a laugh over Zoom call from his Los Angeles home.

“We didn't know we'd be having quarantines and temperature guns and newscasts with the politicization of the zombie outbreak . We thought that was funny – we didn’t know it would become a thing. It's pretty crazy even for us who made the movie, you're like 'wow, really?'.


On a more personal note, he also had no idea that his much talked about cut of superhero movie Justice League would actually come to fruition.

At that point it was just a fan fantasy, but so passionate was the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut online movement, that Warner Brothers agreed to stump up the cash for him to finish it, and it finally surfaced to great acclaim earlier this year.

But Snyder was skeptical enough of it ever happening that he dropped an Easter egg gag into Army Of the Dead : when the band of mercenaries finally fight their way through the undead in the walled-off zombie compound of Las Vegas and bust open the casino vault, along with the hundreds of millions of dollars they have come for is a copy of the Snyder Cut of Justice League .

“We put that in during the time there was no chance that the Snyder Cut was ever going to happen, “he says.

” So, it's a nice call-back to a time when the Snyder Cut was locked in a vault, never to see the light of day. “


What Snyder did know when it came to creating the sequel to his 2004 feature debut, Dawn Of the Dead , was that he wanted it to be about more than slavering, flesh-hungry corpses and inventive and bloody ways to dispatch them (although there are plenty of both in the darkly comic and very gory Army Of the Dead ).

George A. Romero's 1968 zombie classic Night Of the Living Dead was famously a critique on mindless consumerism as much as a horror movie and Snyder similarly looked to some of the hot-button issues in the divided America under then-president Donald Trump.

“I think the zombies in our movie comment on a lot of stuff – the decadence of Las Vegas, we try to do a lot of political commentary on building a wall, which is a big American thing, and immigration and human rights violation and we really go nuts, “he says.

” To me, the zombie genre is at its best when it’s holding a mirror up to society. I think one of the scariest things about our zombies is that they don’t necessarily completely want to eat us, they kind of want to replace us and there is a chance that maybe this is a better version of humanity. Of course, that's arguable, but it's a fun argument to have. “

Army Of the Dead is Snyder's first movie as a director since walking away from his role as the driving force in the DC Extended Universe.

He'd kicked it off in 2013 with Man Of Steel and followed it up with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (and was also involved with Suicide Squad , Aquaman and Wonder Wom an) before having to step back from Justice League after the suicide of his daughter, Autumn.

He says that working on his own property, with characters he 'd created, rather than being part of a multibillion-dollar studio machine was both a relief and a joy.

His new world is also growing exponentially, with prequel Army Of Thieves due for release next year and an anime spin-off featuring Army of the Dead cast members including Dave Bautista, Ella Purn ell and Tig Notaro also in the works.

“When you create the IP from scratch you can have a lot more fun,” he says.

“And frankly, it's a movie that wasn't going to destroy the studio if it didn't work. Netflix is going to be fine without me. So, it was fun to make a movie that was just for the joy of it, without this added pressure of everyone getting pins and needles about what happened. “


Whether he would ever go back into the superhero world (if he was ever to make a movie for Marvel, he'd want it to be a version of Frank Miller's Elektra Lives Again ), is something of a moot point, even as support grows online to “restore the Snyderverse”.

“The truth is that I love the characters, but it's not my call, ”he says.

“ Those aren't mine. I made them as much mine as I could and that was part of the problem, maybe. But I am grateful for the fans for giving me the opportunity to finish that up. Without them there would be no Snyder Cut. “

Army Of the Dead is streaming now on Netflix. Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on Binge.

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