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Thursday, February 7, 2008

George Romero Talks to Opie & Anthony

Whether you love or hate Opie & Anthony (I fall amongst the former), it is very cool that they gave George A. Romero 45 minutes on a national radio show. Romero sat down with O & A and their comic sidekick Jim Norton to plug Diary of the Dead, plus talk frankly about a whole bunch of other horror-related stuff yesterday on XM Satellite Radio's The Virus (Ch. 202).
If you'd like to take a listen, you can download the show in its entirety here (for a small fee). For the rest of you, here are some interesting highlights:

  • For me, the most candid moment came when George was asked what he thought of Max Brooks' written work (World War Z, Zombie Survival Guide). It was obvious Romero didn't want to badmouth the guy, but he basically intimated that he and Brooks have totally different objectives. Brooks, he explained, was more interested in "zombies for zombies' sake", while his films are more about the living people. He seems to feel Brooks takes the material too literally, and I'd have to agree.

  • He didn't sound all to happy with Land of Dead. It sounded like he had to make some studio concessions, which is why he's so glad to be back to making independent films. Also, he felt the story got too overblown, which is why he brought it back to an intimate setting again.

  • When asked what he thought of modern horror movies like Saw and Hostel, his response was: "I've seen enough of them to know not to see the sequels." Ouch.

  • Continuing in the same vein, the director lamented the lack of creativity and insight amongst Hollywood studios which motivates them to greenlight endless horror remakes. He was particularly perturbed by the news of the redo of A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film of which he's very fond.

  • Touching on the Resident Evil controversy a bit, Romero explained that the American producers very much liked his script, but it was the German production company that first set the project in motion which rejected it and opted to move further away from the video game.

  • Speaking of which, the explosion in popularity for zombies lately can be credited more to the zombie-related video games of recent years than from his films, according to the modest filmmaker.

  • Unfortunately he was never asked to elaborate on it, but Romero briefly mentioned that he and Stephen King had spoken in the past about doing an adaptation of King's 1999 novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

  • In response to years of fan speculation, Romero denied that Day of the Dead had anything to do with the AIDS epidemic. Rather, his intention was strictly to focus on the breakdown of society caused by lack of trust and communication.

  • In another unexpected and interesting moment, Romero seemed a bit conflicted when asked how he felt about Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. While he did say he enjoyed Fulci's films, it was clear he still had sour grapes when discussing how Fulci "ripped off" the European title of Dawn of the Dead and made an unofficial sequel without anyone's permission.

  • I had never heard this story before: George indicated that his casting of African-American Duane Jones as the lead in Night of the Living Dead was not meant as a statement on race relations, but it was literally while they were on their way to deliver the first finished print of the movie that they heard news on the radio of Martin Luther King's assassination. He and Jones knew then that, intentional or not, his movie would have a powerful racial message. Romero denied that the militia's shooting of Ben at the end of the movie was intended as a racial comment.

5 comments:

Karswell said...

>popularity for zombies lately can be credited more to the zombie-related video games of recent years

Someone made a similar comment about this on my blog the other day (ZOMBIE SURVIVAL KIT post) and I used this bit of info from your blog as ref. It's gotta be true if it's coming from the mouth of Romero! Thanks.

B-Sol said...

Apparently so! I kinda dropped out of the gaming scene after the original Nintendo system circa 1989, so I've been a little out of the loop.

Anonymous said...

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